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Full text of "The works of Robert Louis Stevenson"

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BOOK 823.8.ST48 1894 v.8 c. 1 
STEVENSON f WORKS OF 



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Digitized by the Internet Archive 

in 2012 with funding from 

LYRASIS Members and Sloan Foundation 



http://archive.org/details/worksrob08stev 



This Edinburgh Edition consists of 

one thousand and thirty-Jive copies 

all numbered 



No.AJ.9. 



Vol. VIII. of issue : June 1895 



THE WORKS OF 

ROBERT LOUIS STEVENSON 

EDINBURGH EDITION 



THE WORKS OF 



ROBERT LOUIS 
STEVENSON 

TALES AND FANTASIES 
VOLUME III 




EDINBURGH 

PRINTED BY T. AND A. CONSTABLE FOR 

LONGMANS GREEN AND CO : CASSELL AND CO. 

SEELEY AND CO : CHAS. SCRIBNER'S SONS 

AND SOLD BY CHATTO AND WINDUS 

PICCADILLY : LONDON 

1895 



V 



«0 



STRANGE CASE OF 
DR. JEKYLL AND MR. HYDE 



THE MERRY MEN 

AND OTHER TALES 

AND FABLES 



CONTENTS 



PAGE 

STRANGE CASE OF DR. JEKYLL AND 

MR. HYDE .... I 



THE MERRY MEN AND OTHER TALES 

AND FABLES . . . .103 



STRANGE CASE 
OF DR. JEKYLL 
AND MR. HYDE 



8-A 



First edition : 

Longmans, Green and Co., 1886. 



CONTENTS 



Dedication 

Story of the Door 

Search for Mr. Hyde . 

Dr. Jekyll was quite at ease . 

The Carew Murder Case 

Incident of the Letter 

Remarkable Incident of Dr. Lanyon 

Incident at the Window 

The Last Night 

Dr. Lany on's Narrative 

Henry Jekyll's full Statement of the Case 



PAGE 

5 

7 
16< 



27 



30 



36\ 



43 , 

48 

50 



) 



67 v; 

T7 { 



TO KATHARINE BE MATTOS 

It ''s ill to loose the. bands that God decreed to bind ; 
Still will we be the children of the heather and the wind. 
Far away from home, O ifs still for you and me 
That the broom is blowing bonnie in the north countrie. 



STORY OF THE DOOR 

Mr. Utterson the lawyer was a man of a rugged 
countenance, that was never lighted by a smile ; 
cold, scanty and embarrassed in discourse ; backward 
in sentiment ; lean, long, dusty, dreary, and yet 
somehow lovable. At friendly meetings, and when 
the wine was to his taste, something eminently 
human beaconed from his eye ; something indeed 
which never found its way into his talk, but which 
spoke not only in these silent symbols of the after- 
dinner face, but more often and loudly in the acts of 
his life. He was austere with himself; drank gin 
when he was alone, to mortify a taste for vintages ; 
and though he enjoyed the theatre, had not crossed 
the doors of one for twenty years. But he had an 
approved tolerance for others ; sometimes wondering, 
almost with envy, at the high pressure of spirits 
involved in their misdeeds ; and in any extremity 
inclined to help rather than to reprove. ' I incline 
to Cain's heresy,' he used to say quaintly : ' I let my 
brother go to the devil in his own way.' In this 
character, it was frequently his fortune to be the 
last reputable acquaintance and the last good influ- 
ence in the lives of down-going men. And to such 

7 



DR. JEKYLL AND MR. HYDE 

as these, so long as they came about his chambers, 
he never marked a shade of change in his de- 
meanour. 

No doubt the feat was easy to Mr. Utterson ; for 
he was undemonstrative at the best, and even his 
friendships seemed to be founded in a similar catho- 
licity of good-nature. It is the mark of a modest 
man to accept his friendly circle ready-made from 
the hands of opportunity ; and that was the lawyer's 
way. His friends were those of his own blood, or 
those whom he had known the longest ; his affec- 
tions, like ivy, were the growth of time, they im- 
plied no aptness in the object. Hence, no doubt, 
the bond that united him to Mr. Richard Enfield, 
his distant kinsman, the well-known man about 
town. It was a nut to crack for many, what these 
two could see in each other or what subject they 
could find in common. It was reported by those 
who encountered them in their Sunday walks that 
they said nothing, looked singularly dull, and would 
hail with obvious relief the appearance of a friend. 
For all that, the two men put the greatest store by 
these excursions, counted them the chief jewel of 
each week, and not only set aside occasions of 
pleasure, but even resisted the calls of business, that 
they might enjoy them uninterrupted. 

It chanced on one of these rambles that their way 
led them down a by-street in a busy quarter of 
London. The street was small, and what is called 
quiet, but it drove a thriving trade on the week- 
days. The inhabitants were all doing well, it 
8 



STORY OF THE DOOR 

seemed, and all emulously hoping to do better still, 
and laying out the surplus of their gains in coquetry; 
so that the shop-fronts stood along that thorough- 
fare with an air of invitation, like rows of smiling 
saleswomen. Even on Sunday, when it veiled its 
more florid charms and lay comparatively empty of 
passage, the street shone out in contrast to its dingy 
neighbourhood, like a fire in a forest ; and with its 
freshly painted shutters, well-polished brasses, and 
general cleanliness and gaiety of note, instantly 
caught and pleased the eye of the passenger. 

Two doors from one corner on the left hand going 
east, the line was broken by the entry of a court ; 
and just at that point a certain sinister block of 
building thrust forward its gable on the street. It 
was two stories high ; showed no window, nothing 
but a door on the lower story and a blind forehead 
of discoloured wall on the upper ; and bore in every 
feature the marks of prolonged and sordid negli- 
gence. The door, which was equipped with neither 
bell nor knocker, was blistered and distained. 
Tramps slouched into the recess and struck matches 
on the panels ; children kept shop upon the steps ; 
the schoolboy had tried his knife on the mouldings ; 
and for close on a generation no one had appeared 
to drive away these random visitors or to repair 
their ravages. 

Mr. Enfield and the lawyer were on the other 
side of the by-street ; but when they came abreast 
of the entry the former lifted up his cane and 
pointed. 

9 



DR. JEKYLL AND MR. HYDE 

' Did you ever remark that door ? ' he asked ; and 
when his companion had replied in the affirmative, 
' it is connected in my mind,' added he, ' with a very 
odd story.' 

' Indeed ? ' said Mr. Utterson, with a slight change 
of voice, ' and what was that ? ' 

' Well, it was this way,' returned Mr. Enfield : ' I 
was coming home from some place at the end of the 
world, about three o'clock of a black winter morning, 
and my way lay through a part of town where there 
was literally nothing to be seen but lamps. Street 
after street, and all the folks asleep— street after 
street, all lighted up as if for a procession and all as 
empty as a church — till at last I got into that state 
of mind when a man listens and listens and begins 
to long for the sight of a policeman. All at once I 
saw two figures : one a little man who was stumping 
along eastward at a good walk, and the other a girl 
of maybe eight or ten who was running as hard as 
she was able down a cross street. AVell, sir, the two 
ran into one another naturally enough at the corner ; 
and then came the horrible part of the thing ; for 
the man trampled calmly over the child's body and 
left her screaming on the ground. It sounds nothing 
to hear, but it was hellish to see. It wasn't like a 
man ; it was like some damned Juggernaut. I gave 
a view-holloa, took to my heels, collared my gentle- 
man, and brought him back to where there was 
already quite a group about the screaming child. 
He was perfectly cool, and made no resistance, but 
gave me one look, so ugly that it brought out the 
10 



STORY OF THE DOOR 

sweat on me like running. The people who had 
turned out were the girl's own family ; and pretty 
soon, the doctor, for whom she had been sent, put 
in his appearance. Well, the child was not much 
the worse, more frightened, according to the Saw- 
bones ; and there you might have supposed would 
be an end to it. But there was one curious circum- 
stance. I had taken a loathing to my gentleman 
at first sight. So had the child's family, which was 
only natural. But the doctor's case was what struck 
me. He was the usual cut-and-dry apothecary, of 
no particular age and colour, with a strong Edin- 
burgh accent, and about as emotional as a bagpipe. 
Well, sir, he was like the rest of us ; every time he 
looked at my prisoner, I saw that Sawbones turn 
sick and white with the desire to kill him. I knew 
what was in his mind, just as he knew what was in 
mine ; and killing being out of the question, we did 
the next best. We told the man we could and 
would make such a scandal out of this as should 
make his name stink from one end of London to the 
other. If he had any friends or any credit, we 
undertook that he should lose them. And all the 
time, as we were pitching it in red-hot, we were 
keeping the women off him as best we could, for 
they were as wild as harpies. I never saw a circle 
of such hateful faces ; and there was the man in the 
middle, with a kind of black, sneering coolness — 
frightened too, I could see that— but carrying it off", 
sir, really like Satan. " If you choose to make 
capital out of this accident," said he, " I am naturally 

1 1 



DR. JEKYLL AND MR. HYDE 

helpless. No gentleman but wishes to avoid a 
scene," says he. "Name your figure." Well, we 
screwed him up to a hundred pounds for the child's 
family ; he would have clearly liked to stick out ; 
but there was something about the lot of us 
that meant mischief, and at last he struck. The 
next thing was to get the money ; and where do 
you think he carried us but to that place with the 
door ? — whipped out a key, went in, and presently 
came back with the matter of ten pounds in gold 
and a cheque for the balance on Coutts's, drawn 
payable to bearer and signed with a name that I 
can't mention, though it 's one of the points of my 
story, but it was a name at least very well known 
and often printed. The figure was stiff; but the 
signature was good for more than that, if it was 
only genuine. I took the liberty of pointing out 
to my gentleman that the whole business looked 
apocryphal, and that a man does not, in real life, 
walk into a cellar-door at four in the morning and 
come out of it with another man's cheque for close 
upon a hundred pounds. But he was quite easy 
and sneering. " Set your mind at rest," says he, " I 
will stay with you till the banks open and cash the 
cheque myself." So we all set off, the doctor, and 
the child's father, and our friend and myself, and 
passed the rest of the night in my chambers ; and 
next day, when we had breakfasted, went in a body 
to the bank. I gave in the cheque myself, and said 
I had every reason to believe it was a forgery. Not 
a bit of it. The cheque was genuine.' 
12 



STORY OF THE DOOR 

' Tut-tut,' said Mr. Utterson. 

' I see you feel as I do,' said Mr. Enfield. ' Yes, 
it's a bad story. For my man was a fellow that 
nobody could have to do with, a really damnable 
man ; and the person that drew the cheque is the 
very pink of the proprieties, celebrated too, and 
(what makes it worse) one of your fellows who do 
what they call good. Black-mail, I suppose ; an 
honest man paying through the nose for some of 
the capers of his youth. Black Mail House is what 
I call that place with the door, in consequence. 
Though even that, you know, is far from explaining 
all,' he added, and with the words fell into a vein of 
musing. 

From this he was recalled by Mr. Utterson asking 
rather suddenly : ' And you don't know if the drawer 
of the cheque lives there ? ' 

' A likely place, isn't it ? ' returned Mr. Enfield. 
' But I happen to have noticed his address ; he lives 
in some square or other.' 

' And you never asked about — the place with the 
door ? ' said Mr. Utterson. 

4 No, sir : I had a delicacy,' was the reply. ' I feel 
very strongly about putting questions ; it partakes 
too much of the style of the day of judgment. You 
start a question, and it 's like starting a stone. 
You sit quietly on the top of a hill ; and away the 
stone goes, starting others ; and presently some 
bland old bird (the last you would have thought of) 
is knocked on the head in his own back-garden and 
the family have to change their name. No, sir, I 

13 



DR. JEKYLL AND MR. HYDE 

make it a rule of mine : the more it looks like Queer 
Street, the less I ask.' 

' A very good rule too,' said the lawyer. 

' But I have studied the place for myself,' con- 
tinued Mr. Enfield. ' It seems scarcely a house. 
There is no other door, and nobody goes in or out 
of that one but, once in a great while, the gentleman 
of my adventure. There are three windows looking 
on the court on the first floor ; none below ; the 
windows are always shut, but they 're clean. And 
then there is a chimney which is generally smoking ; 
so somebody must live there. And yet it s not so 
sure ; for the buildings are so packed together about 
that court that it 's hard to say where one ends and 
another begins.' 

The pair walked on again for a while in silence ; 
and then, ' Enfield,' said Mr. Utterson, ' that 's a 
good rule of yours.' 

' Yes, I think it is,' returned Enfield. 

' But for all that,' continued the lawyer, ' there 's 
one point I want to ask : I want to ask the name of 
that man who walked over the child.' 

' Well,' said Mr. Enfield, ' I can't see what harm 
it would do. He was a man of the name of Hyde.' 

' Hm,' said Mr. Utterson. ' AVhat sort of a man 
is he to see ? ' 

' He is not easy to describe. There is something 
wrong with his appearance ; something displeasing, 
something downright detestable. I never saw a man 
I so disliked, and yet I scarce know why. He must 
be deformed somewhere ; he gives a strong feeling 
14 



STORY OF THE DOOR 

of deformity, although I couldn't specify the point. 
He 's an extraordinary-looking man, and yet I really 
can name nothing out of the way. No, sir ; I can 
make no hand of it ; I can't describe him. And it 's 
not want of memory ; for I declare I can see him 
this moment' 

Mr. Utterson again walked some way in silence 
and obviously under a weight of consideration. 
' You are sure he used a key ? ' he inquired at last. 

' My dear sir . . . ' began Enfield, surprised out of 
himself. 

' Yes, I know,' said Utterson ; ' I know it must 
seem strange. The fact is, if I do not ask you the 
name of the other party it is because I know it 
already. You see, Richard, your tale has gone 
home. If you have been inexact in any point you 
had better correct it.' 

' I think you might have warned me,' returned 
the other with a touch of sullenness. ' But I have 
been pedantically exact, as you call it. The fellow 
had a key, and what 's more, he has it still. I saw 
him use it not a week ago.' 

Mr. Utterson sighed deeply but said never a 
word ; and the young man presently resumed. 
' Here is another lesson to say nothing,' said he. ' I 
am ashamed of my long tongue. Let us make a 
bargain never to refer to this again.' 

' With all my heart,' said the lawyer. ' I shake 
hands on that, Richard.' 



15 



DR. JEKYLL AND MR. HYDE 



SEARCH FOR MR. HYDE 

That evening Mr. Utterson came home to his 
bachelor house in sombre spirits and sat down to 
dinner without relish. It was his custom of a 
Sunday, when this meal was over, to sit close by 
the fire, a volume of some dry divinity on his read- 
ing-desk, until the clock of the neighbouring church 
rang out the hour of twelve, when he would go 
soberly and gratefully to bed. On this night, how- 
ever, as soon as the cloth was taken away, he took 
up a candle and went into his business-room. There 
he opened his safe, took from the most private part 
of it a document indorsed on the envelope as Dr. 
Jekyll's Will, and sat down with a clouded brow to 
study its contents. The will was holograph, for Mr. 
Utterson, though he took charge of it now that it 
was made, had refused to lend the least assistance in 
the making of it ; it provided not only that, in case 
of the decease of Henry Jekyll, M.D., D.C.L., 
LL.D., F.R.S., etc., all his possessions were to pass 
into the hands of his ' friend and benefactor Edward 
Hyde,' but that in case of Dr. Jekyll's ' disappear- 
ance or unexplained absence for any period exceed- 
ing three calendar months,' the said Edward Hyde 
should step into the said Henry Jekyll's shoes 
without further delay and free from any burthen or 
obligation, beyond the payment of a few small sums 
to the members of the doctor's household. This 
document had long been the lawyer's eyesore. It 
16 



SEARCH FOR MR. HYDE 

offended him both as a lawyer and as a lover of the 
sane and customary sides of life, to whom the fanci- 
ful was the immodest. And hitherto it was his 
ignorance of Mr. Hyde that had swelled his indigna- 
tion ; now, by a sudden turn, it was his knowledge. 
It was already bad enough when the name was but 
a name of which he could learn no more. It was 
worse when it began to be clothed upon with 
detestable attributes ; and out of the shifting, insub- 
stantial mists that had so long baffled his eye, there 
leaped up the sudden, definite presentment of a 
fiend. 

' I thought it was madness,' he said, as he replaced 
the obnoxious paper in the safe, ' and now I begin to 
fear it is disgrace.' 

With that he blew out his candle, put on a great- 
coat, and set forth in the direction of Cavendish 
Square, that citadel of medicine, where his friend, 
the great Dr. Lanyon, had his house and received 
his crowding patients. ' If any one knows, it will be 
Lanyon,' he had thought. 

The solemn butler knew and welcomed him ; he 
was subjected to no stage of delay, but ushered 
direct from the door to the dining-room, where Dr. 
Lanyon sat alone over his wine. This was a hearty, 
healthy, dapper, red-faced gentleman, with a shock 
of hair prematurely white, and a boisterous and 
decided manner. At sight of Mr. Utterson, he 
sprang up- from his chair and welcomed him with 
both hands. The geniality, as was the way of the 
man, was somewhat theatrical to the eye ; but it 
8— b 17 



DR. JEKYLL AND MR. HYDE 

reposed on genuine feeling. For these two were old 
friends, old mates both at school and college, both 
thorough respecters of themselves and of each 
other, and, what does not always follow, men who 
thoroughly enjoyed each other's company. 

After a little rambling talk, the lawyer led up to the 
subject which so disagreeably preoccupied his mind. 

' I suppose, Lanyon,' said he, ' you and I must be 
the two oldest friends that Henry Jekyll has ? ' 

' I wish the friends were younger,' chuckled Dr. 
Lanyon. ' But I suppose we are. And what of 
that ? I see little of him now.' 

' Indeed ? ' said Utterson. ' I thought you had a 
bond of common interest.' 

' We had,' was the reply. ' But it is more than 
ten years since Henry Jekyll became too fanciful for 
me. He began to go wrong, wrong in mind ; and 
though of course I continue to take an interest in 
him for old sake's sake, as they say, I see and I have 
seen devilish little of the man. Such unscientific 
balderdash,' added the doctor, flushing suddenly 
purple, 'would have estranged Damon and Pythias.' 

This little spirt of temper was somewhat of a relief 
to Mr. Utterson. ' They have only differed on some 
point of science,' he thought; and being a man of 
no scientific passions (except in the matter of con- 
veyancing) he even added : ' It is nothing worse 
than that ! ' He gave his friend a few seconds to 
recover his composure, and then approached the 
question he had come to put. ' Did you ever come 
across a protege of his — one Hyde ? ' he asked. 
18 



SEARCH FOR MR. HYDE 

' Hyde ? ' repeated Lanyon. ' No. Never heard 
of him. Since my time.' 

That was the amount of information that the 
lawyer carried back with him to the great, dark bed 
on which he tossed to and fro, until the small hours 
of the morning began to grow large. It was a night 
of little ease to his toiling mind, toiling in mere 
darkness and besieged by questions. 

Six o'clock struck on the bells of the church that 
was so conveniently near to Mr. Utterson's dwelling, 
and still he was digging at the problem. Hitherto 
it had touched him on the intellectual side alone ; 
but now his imagination also was engaged, or rather 
enslaved ; and as he lay and tossed in the gross 
darkness of the night and the curtained room, Mr. 
Enfield's tale went by before his mind in a scroll of 
lighted pictures. He would be aware of the great 
field of lamps of a nocturnal city ; then of the figure 
of a man walking swiftly ; then of a child running 
from the doctor's ; and then these met, and that 
human Juggernaut trod the child down and passed 
on regardless of her screams. Or else he would see 
a room in a rich house, where his friend lay asleep, 
dreaming and smiling at his dreams ; and then the 
door of that room would be opened, the curtains of 
the bed plucked apart, the sleeper recalled, and lo ! 
there would stand by his side a figure to whom 
power was given, and even at that dead hour he 
must rise and do its bidding. The figure in these 
two phases haunted the lawyer all night ; and if at 
any time he dozed over, it was but to see it glide 

19 



DR. JEKYLL AND MR. HYDE 

more stealthily through sleeping houses, or move 
the more swiftly and still the more swiftly, even to 
dizziness, through wider labyrinths of lamplighted 
city, and at every street-corner crush a child and 
leave her screaming. And still the figure had no 
face by which he might know it ; even in his dreams, 
it had no face, or one that baffled him and melted 
before his eyes ; and thus it was that there sprang 
up and grew apace in the lawyer's mind a singularly 
strong, almost an inordinate, curiosity to behold the 
features of the real Mr. Hyde. If he could but 
once set eyes on him, he thought the mystery would 
lighten and perhaps roll altogether away, as was the 
habit of mysterious things when well examined. 
He might see a reason for his friend's strange pre- 
ference or bondage (call it which you please) and 
even for the startling clauses of the will. And at 
least it would be a face worth seeing : the face of 
a man who was without bowels of mercy : a face 
which had but to show itself to raise up, in the mind 
of the unimpressionable Enfield, a spirit of enduring 
hatred. 

From that time forward, Mr. Utterson began to 
haunt the door in the bystreet of shops. In the 
morning before office hours, at noon when business 
was plenty and time scarce, at night under the face 
of the fogged city moon, by all lights and at all 
hours of solitude or concourse, the lawyer was to be 
found on his chosen post 

' If he be Mr. Hyde,' he had thought, ' I shall be 
Mr. Seek.' 
20 



SEARCH FOR MR. HYDE 

And at last his patience was rewarded. It was a 
fine dry night ; frost in the air ; the streets as clean 
as a ballroom floor ; the lamps, unshaken by any 
wind, drawing a regular pattern of light and shadow. 
By ten o'clock, when the shops were closed, the 
bystreet was very solitary and, in spite of the low 
growl of London from all round, very silent. Small 
sounds carried far ; domestic sounds out of the 
houses were clearly audible on either side of the 
roadway ; and the rumour of the approach of any 
passenger preceded him by a long time. Mr. Utter- 
son had been some minutes at his post, when he was 
aware of an odd, light footstep drawing near. In 
the course of his nightly patrols he had long grown 
accustomed to the quaint effect with which the 
footfalls of a single person, while he is still a great 
way off, suddenly spring out distinct from the vast 
hum and clatter of the city. Yet his attention had 
never before been so sharply and decisively arrested ; 
and it was with a strong, superstitious prevision of 
success that he withdrew into the entry of the court. 

The steps drew swiftly nearer, and swelled out 
suddenly louder as they turned the end of the street. 
The lawyer, looking forth from the entry, could soon 
see what manner of man he had to deal with. He 
was small and very plainly dressed, and the look of 
him, even at that distance, went somehow strongly 
against the watcher's inclination. But he made 
straight for the door, crossing the roadway to save 
time ; and as he came, he drew a key from his pocket 
like one approaching home. 

21 



DR. JEKYLL AND MR. HYDE 

Mr. Utterson stepped out and touched him on the 
shoulder as he passed. ' Mr. Hyde, I think ? ' 

Mr. Hyde shrank back with a hissing intake of 
the breath. But his fear was only momentary ; and 
though he did not look the lawyer in the face, he 
answered coolly enough : ' That is my name. What 
do you want ? ' 

' I see you are going in,' returned the lawyer. 
' I am an old friend of Dr. Jekyll's — Mr. Utterson 
of Gaunt Street — you must have heard my name ; 
and meeting you so conveniently, I thought you 
might admit me.' 

' You will not find Dr. Jekyll ; he is from home,' 
replied Mr. Hyde, blowing in the key. And then 
suddenly, but still without looking up, ' How did 
you know me ? ' he asked. 

4 On your side,' said Mr. Utterson, ' will you do 
me a favour ? ' 

' With pleasure,' replied the other. ' What shall 
it be ? ' 

' Will you let me see your face ? ' asked the lawyer. 

Mr. Hyde appeared to hesitate, and then, as if 
upon some sudden reflection, fronted about with an 
air of defiance ; and the pair stared at each other 
pretty fixedly for a few seconds. ' Now I shall 
know you again,' said Mr. Utterson. ' It may be 
useful.' 

' Yes,' returned Mr. Hyde, ' it is as well we have 
met ; and a p?~opos, you should have my address. ' 
And he gave a number of a street in Soho. 

' Good God ! ' thought Mr. Utterson, ' can he too 

22 



SEARCH FOR MR. HYDE 

have been thinking of the will ? ' Hut he kept his 
feelings to himself and only grunted in acknowledg- 
ment of the address. 

' And now,' said the other, ' how did you know 
me?' 

' By description,' was the reply. 

' Whose description ? ' 

' We have common friends,' said Mr. Utterson. 

' Common friends ? ' echoed Mr. Hyde, a little 
hoarsely. ' Who are they ? ' 

' Jekyll, for instance,' said the lawyer. 

' He never told you,' cried Mr. Hyde, with a flush 
of anger. ' I did not think you would have lied.' 

' Come,' said Mr. Utterson, ' that is not fitting 
language. ' 

The other snarled aloud into a savage laugh ; and 
the next moment, with extraordinary quickness, he 
had unlocked the door and disappeared into the 
house. 

The lawyer stood a while when Mr. Hyde had left 
him, the picture of disquietude. Then he began 
slowly to mount the street, pausing every step or 
two and putting his hand to his brow like a man 
in mental perplexity. The problem he was thus 
debating as he walked was one of a class that is 
rarely solved. Mr. Hyde was pale and dwarfish, he 
gave an impression of deformity without any name- 
able malformation, he had a displeasing smile, he 
had borne himself to the lawyer with a sort of 
murderous mixture of timidity and boldness, and 
he spoke with a husky, whispering, and somewhat 



DR. JEKYLL AND MR. HYDE 

broken voice ; all these were points against him, but 
not all of these together could explain the hitherto 
unknown disgust, loathing, and fear with which Mr. 
Utterson regarded him. ' There must be something 
else,' said the perplexed gentleman. ' There is 
something more, if I could find a name for it God 
bless me, the man seems hardly human ! Something 
troglodytic, shall we say ? or can it be the old story 
of Dr. Fell ? or is it the mere radiance of a foul soul 
that thus transpires through, and transfigures, its 
clay continent ? The last, I think ; for, O my poor 
old Harry Jekyll, if ever I read Satan's signature 
upon a face, it is on that of your new friend.' 

Round the corner from the bystreet there was a 
square of ancient, handsome houses, now for the 
most part decayed from their high estate and let 
in flats and chambers to all sorts and conditions of 
men : map-engravers, architects, shady lawyers, and 
the agents of obscure enterprises. One house, how- 
ever, second from the corner, was still occupied 
entire ; and at the door of this, which wore a 
great air of wealth and comfort, though it was now 
plunged in darkness except for the fan-light, Mr. 
Utterson stopped and knocked. A well-dressed 
elderly servant opened the door. 

' Is Dr. Jekyll at home, Poole ? ' asked the lawyer. 

' I will see, Mr. Utterson,' said Poole, admitting 
the visitor, as he spoke, into a large, low-roofed, 
comfortable hall, paved with flags, warmed (after the 
fashion of a country house) by a bright, open fire, 
and furnished with costly cabinets of oak. ' Will 
24 



SEARCH FOR MR. HYDE 

you wait here by the fire, sir ? or shall 1 give you a 
light iu the dining-room ? ' 

' Here, thank you,' said the lawyer, and he drew 
near and leaned on the tall fender. This hall, in 
which he was now left alone, was a pet fancy of his 
friend the doctor's ; and Utterson himself was wont 
to speak of it as the pleasantest room in London. 
But to-night there was a shudder in his blood ; the 
face of Hyde sat heavy on his memory ; he felt 
(what was rare with him) a nausea and distaste of 
life ; and in the gloom of his spirits he seemed to 
read a menace in the flickering of the firelight on 
the polished cabinets and the uneasy starting of the 
shadow on the roof. He was ashamed of his relief, 
when Poole presently returned to announce that 
Dr. Jekyll was gone out. 

' I saw Mr. Hyde go in by the old dissecting- 
room door, Poole,' he said. ' Is that right, when 
Dr. Jekyll is from home ? ' 

'Quite right, Mr. Utterson, sir,' replied the 
servant. ' Mr. Hyde has a key.' 

'Your master seems to repose a great deal of trust in 
that young man, Poole,' resumed the other musingly. 

'Yes, sir, he do indeed,' said Poole. ' We have 
all orders to obey him.' 

' I do not think I ever met Mr. Hyde ? ' asked 
Utterson. 

' O dear no, sir. He never dines here,' replied 
the butler. ' Indeed we see very little of him on 
this side of the house ; he mostly comes and goes by 
the laboratory.' 

25 



DR. JEKYLL AND MR. HYDE 

' Well, good-night, Poole.' 

'Good-night, Mr. Utterson.' 

And the lawyer set out homeward with a very 
heavy heart. ' Poor Hany Jekyll,' he thought, ' my 
mind misgives me he is in deep waters! He was 
wild when he was young ; a long while ago, to be 
sure ; but in the law of God there is no statute of 
limitations. Ay, it must be that ; the ghost of 
some old sin, the cancer of some concealed disgrace : 
punishment coming, pede claudo, years after memory 
has forgotten and self-love condoned the fault' 
And the lawyer, scared by the thought, brooded 
a while on his own past, groping in all the corners of 
memory, lest by chance some Jack-in-the-Box of an 
old iniquity should leap to light there. His past 
was fairly blameless ; few men could read the rolls 
of their life with less apprehension ; yet he was 
humbled to the dust by the many ill things he had 
done, and raised up again into a sober and fearful 
gratitude by the many that he had come so near to 
doing, yet avoided. And then, by a return on his 
former subject, he conceived a spark of hope. ' This 
Master Hyde, if he were studied,' thought he, ' must 
have secrets of his own : black secrets, by the look 
of him ; secrets compared to which poor Jekyll's 
worst would be like sunshine. Things cannot con- 
tinue as they are. It turns me cold to think of 
this creature stealing like a thief to Harry's bedside ; 
poor Harry, what a wakening ! And the danger of 
it ; for if this Hyde suspects the existence of the 
will, he may grow impatient to inherit. Ay, I must 
26 



SEARCH FOR MR. HYDE 

put my shoulder to the wheel — if Jekyll will but 
let me,' he added, 'if Jekyll will only let me.' For 
once more he saw before his mind's eye, as clear as 
a transparency, the strange clauses of the will. 



DR. JEKYLL WAS QUITE AT EASE 

A fortnight later, by excellent good fortune, the 
doctor gave one of his pleasant dinners to some five 
or six old cronies, all intelligent, reputable men, and 
all judges of good wine ; and Mr. Utterson so con- 
trived that he remained behind after the others had 
departed. This was no new arrangement, but a 
thing that had befallen many scores of times. 
Where Utterson was liked, he was liked well. 
Hosts loved to detain the dry lawyer, when the 
light-hearted and the loose-tongued had already 
their foot on the threshold ; they liked to sit a while 
in his unobtrusive company, practising for solitude, 
sobering their minds in the man's rich silence after 
the expense and strain of gaiety. To this rule Dr. 
Jekyll was no exception ; and as he now sat on the 
opposite side of the fire — a large, well-made, smooth- 
faced man of fifty, with something of a slyish cast 
perhaps, but every mark of capacity and kindness 
— you could see by his looks that he cherished for 
Mr. Utterson a sincere and warm affection. 

' I have been wanting to speak to you, Jekyll,' 
began the latter. ' You know that will of yours ? ' 

27 



DR. JEKYLL AND MR. HYDE 

A close observer might have gathered that the 
topic was distasteful ; but the doctor carried it off 
gaily. ' My poor Utterson,' said he, ' you are un- 
fortunate in such a client. I never saw a man so 
distressed as you were by my will ; unless it were 
that hide-bound pedant Lanyon, at what he called 
my scientific heresies. Oh, I know he 's a good fellow 
— you needn't frown — an excellent fellow, and I 
always mean to see more of him ; but a hide-bound 
pedant for all that ; an ignorant, blatant pedant. 
I was never more disappointed in any man than 
Lanyon.' 

' You know I never approved of it,' pursued 
Utterson, ruthlessly disregarding the fresh topic. 

'My will? Yes, certainly, I know that,' said the 
doctor, a trifle sharply. 'You have told me so.' 

' Well, I tell you so again,' continued the lawyer. 
' I have been learning something of young Hyde.' 

The large handsome face of Dr. Jekyll grew pale 
to the very lips, and there came a blackness about 
his eyes. ' I do not care to hear more,' said he. 
' This is a matter I thought we had agreed to drop.' 

' What I heard was abominable,' said Utterson. 

' It can make no change. You do not understand 
my position,' returned the doctor, with a certain 
incoherency of manner. ' I am painfully situated, 
Utterson ; my position is a very strange — a very 
strange one. It is one of those affairs that cannot 
be mended by talking.' 

' Jekyll,' said Utterson, ' you know me : I am a 
man to be trusted. Make a clean breast of this in 
28 



DR. JEKYLL QUITE AT EASE 

confidence ; and I make no doubt I can get yon out 
of it.' 

' My good Utterson,' said the doctor, ' this is very 
good of you, this is downright good of you, and I 
cannot find words to thank you in. I believe you 
fully ; I would trust you before any man alive — ay, 
before myself, if I could make the choice ; but 
indeed it isn't what you fancy ; it is not so bad as 
that ; and just to put your good heart at rest, I will 
tell you one thing : the moment I choose, I can be 
rid of Mr. Hyde. I give you my hand upon that ; 
and I thank you again and again ; and I will just 
add one little word, Utterson, that I 'm sure you '11 
take in good part : this is a private matter, and I 
beg of you to let it sleep.' 

Utterson reflected a little, looking in the fire. 

• I have no doubt you are perfectly right,' he said 
at last, getting to his feet. 

' Well, but since we have touched upon this 
business, and for the last time I hope,' continued the 
doctor, ' there is one point I should like you to 
understand. I have really a very great interest in 
poor Hyde. I know you have seen him; he told me 
so ; and I fear he was rude. But I do sincerely take a 
great, a very great interest in that young man ; and if 
I am taken away, Utterson, I wish you to promise 
me that you will bear with him and get his rights for 
him. I think you would, if you knew all ; and it 
would be a weight off* my mind if you would promise.' 

* I can't pretend that I shall ever like him,' said 
the lawyer. 

29 



DR. JEKYLL AND MR. HYDE 

' I don't ask that,' pleaded Jekyll, laying his hand 
upon the other's arm ; ' I only ask for justice ; I 
only ask you to help him for my sake, when I am 
no longer here.' 

Utterson heaved an irrepressible sigh. 'Well,' 
said he, ' I promise. ' 



THE CAREW MURDER CASE 

Nearly a year later, in the month of October 18 — , 
London was startled by a crime of singular ferocity, 
rendered all the more notable by the high position 
of the victim. The details were few and startling. 
A maid-servant living alone in a house not far from 
the river had gone upstairs to bed about eleven. 
Although a fog rolled over the city in the small 
hours, the early part of the night was cloudless, 
and the lane, which the maid's window overlooked, 
was brilliantly lit by the full moon. It seems she 
was romantically given, for she sat down upon her 
box, which stood immediately under the window, 
and fell into a dream of musing. Never (she used 
to say, with streaming tears, when she narrated that 
experience), never had she felt more at peace with 
all men or thought more kindly of the world. And 
as she so sat she became aware of an aged and 
beautiful gentleman with' white hair drawing near 
along the lane : and advancing to meet him another 
and very small gentleman, to whom at first she paid 
less attention. When they had come within speech 
30 



THE CAREW MURDER CASE 

(which was just under the maids eyes) the older man 
bowed and accosted the other with a very pretty 
manner of politeness. It did not seem as if the 
subject of his address were of great importance ; 
indeed, from his pointing, it sometimes appeared as 
if he were only inquiring his way ; but the moon 
shone on his face as he spoke, and the girl was 
pleased to watch it, it seemed to breathe such an 
innocent and old-world kindness of disposition, yet 
with something high too, as of a well-founded self- 
content. Presently her eye wandered to the other, 
and she was surprised to recognise in him a certain 
Mr. Hyde, who had once visited her master, and for 
whom she had conceived a dislike. He had in his 
hand a heavy cane, with which he was trifling ; but 
he answered never a word, and seemed to listen with 
an ill-contained impatience. And then all of a 
sudden he broke out in a great flame of anger, 
stamping with his foot, brandishing the cane, and 
carrying on (as the maid described it) like a mad- 
man. The old gentleman took a step back, with 
the air of one very much surprised and a trifle hurt ; 
and at that Mr. Hyde broke out of all bounds and 
clubbed him to the earth. And next moment, with 
ape-like fury, he was trampling his victim under 
foot, and hailing down a storm of blows, under which 
the bones were audibly shattered and the body 
jumped upon the roadway. At the horror of these 
sights and sounds the maid fainted. 

It was two o'clock when she came to herself and 
called for the police. The murderer was gone long 

3i 



DR. JEKYLL AND MR. HYDE 

ago ; but there lay his victim in the middle of the 
lane, incredibly mangled. The stick with which the 
deed had been done, although it was of some rare 
and very tough and heavy wood, had broken in the 
middle under the stress of this insensate cruelty ; 
and one splintered half had rolled in the neighbour- 
ing gutter — the other, without doubt, had been 
carried away by the murderer. A purse and a gold 
watch were found upon the victim ; but no cards 
or papers, except a sealed and stamped envelope, 
which he had been probably carrying to the post, 
and which bore the name and address of Mr. Utter- 
son. 

This was brought to the lawyer the next morning 
before he was out of bed ; and he had no sooner 
seen it, and been told the circumstances, than he 
shot out a solemn lip. ' I shall say nothing till I 
have seen the body,' said he ; ' this may be very 
serious. Have the kindness to wait while I dress.' 
And with the same grave countenance he hurried 
through his breakfast and drove to the police station, 
whither the body had been carried. As soon as he 
came into the cell, he nodded. 

' Yes,' said he, ' I recognise him. I am sorry to 
say that this is Sir Danvers Carew.' 

' Good God, sir,' exclaimed the officer, ' is it 
possible ? ' And the next moment his eye lighted 
up with professional ambition. ' This will make a 
deal of noise,' he said. ' And perhaps you can help 
us to the man.' And he briefly narrated what the 
maid had seen, and showed the broken stick. 
32 



THE CAREW MURDER CASE 

Mr. Utterson had already quailed at the name of 
Hyde ; but when the stick was laid before him he 
could doubt no longer ; broken and battered as it 
was, he recognised it for one that he had himself 
presented many years before to Henry Jekyll. 

' Is this Mr. Hyde a person of small stature ? ' he 
inquired. 

' Particularly small and particularly wicked-look- 
ing, is what the maid calls him,' said the officer. 

Mr. Utterson reflected ; and then, raising his 
head, ' If you will come with me in my cab,' he said, 
' I think I can take you to his house.' 

It was by this time about nine in the morning, 
and the first fog of the season. A great chocolate- 
coloured pall lowered over heaven, but the wind was 
continually charging and routing these embattled 
vapours ; so that as the cab crawled from street to 
street, Mr. Utterson beheld a marvellous number of 
degrees and hues of twilight ; for here it would be 
dark like the back-end of evening ; and there would 
be a glow of a rich, lurid brown, like the light of 
some strange conflagration ; and here, for a moment, 
the fog would be quite broken up, and a haggard 
shaft of daylight would glance in between the swirl- 
ing wreaths. The dismal quarter of Soho seen under 
these changing glimpses, with its muddy ways, and 
slatternly passengers, and its lamps, which had never 
been extinguished or had been kindled afresh to 
combat this mournful re-invasion of darkness, seemed, 
in the lawyer's eyes, like a district of some city in a 
nightmare. The thoughts of his mind, besides, were 
8-c 33 



DR. JEKYLL AND MR. HYDE 

of the gloomiest dye ; and when he glanced at the 
companion of his drive, he was conscious of some 
touch of that terror of the law and the law's officers 
which may at times assail the most honest. 

As the cab drew up before the address indicated, 
the fog lifted a little and showed him a dingy street, 
a gin-palace, a low French eating-house, a shop for 
the retail of penny numbers and twopenny salads, 
many ragged children huddled in the doorways, and 
many women of many different nationalities passing 
out, key in hand, to have a morning glass ; and the 
next moment the fog settled down again upon that 
part, as brown as umber, and cut him off from his 
blackguardly surroundings. This was the home of 
Henry Jekyll's favourite ; of a man who was heir to 
a quarter of a million sterling. 

An ivory-faced and silvery-haired old woman 
opened the door. She had an evil face, smoothed 
by hypocrisy ; but her manners were excellent. 
Yes, she said, this was Mr. Hyde's, but he was not 
at home ; he had been in that night very late, but 
had gone away again in less than an hour ; there 
was nothing strange in that; his habits were very 
irregular, and he was often absent; for instance, it 
was nearly two months since she had seen him till 
yesterday. 

1 Very well then, we wish to see his rooms,' said 
the lawyer ; and when the woman began to declare 
it was impossible, ' I had better tell you who this 
person is,' he added. ' This is Inspector Newcomen 
of Scotland Yard.' 
34 



THE CAREW MURDER CASE 

A flash of odious joy appeared upon the woman's 
face. ' Ah ! ' said she, ' he is in trouble ! What has 
he done ? ' 

Mr. Utterson and the inspector exchanged glances. 
' He don't seem a very popular character,' observed 
the latter. 'And now, my good woman, just let me 
and this gentleman have a look about us.' 

In the whole extent of the house, which but for 
the old woman remained otherwise empty, Mr. Hyde 
had only used a couple of rooms ; but these were 
furnished with luxury and good taste. A closet 
was filled with wine ; the plate was of silver, the 
napery elegant ; a good picture hung upon the walls, 
a gift (as Utterson supposed) from Henry Jekyll, 
who was much of a connoisseur ; and the carpets 
were of many plies and agreeable in colour. At this 
moment, however, the rooms bore every mark of 
having been recently and hurriedly ransacked ; 
clothes lay about the floor, with their pockets inside 
out ; lockfast drawers stood open ; and on the hearth 
there lay a pile of grey ashes, as though many papers 
had been burned. From these embers the inspector 
disinterred the butt-end of a green cheque-book, 
which had resisted the action of the fire ; the other 
half of the stick was found behind the door ; and as 
this clinched his suspicions, the officer declared him- 
self delighted. A visit to the bank, where several 
thousand pounds were found to be lying to the 
murderer's credit, completed his gratification. 

' You may depend upon it, sir,' he told Mr. Utter- 
son : ' I have him in my hand. He must have lost 

35 



DR. JEKYLL AND MR. HYDE 

his head, or he never would have left the stick or, 
above all, burned the cheque-book. Why, money 's 
life to the man. We have nothing to do but wait 
for him at the bank, and get out the handbills.' 

This last, however, was not so easy of accomplish- 
ment ; for Mr. Hyde had numbered few familiars — 
even the master of the servant-maid had only seen 
him twice ; his family could nowhere be traced ; he 
had never been photographed ; and the few who 
could describe him differed widely, as common 
observers will. Only on one point were they agreed ; 
and that was the haunting sense of unexpressed 
deformity with which the fugitive impressed his 
beholders. 



INCIDENT OF THE LETTER 

It was late in the afternoon when Mr. Utterson 
found his way to Dr. Jekyll's door, where he was 
at once admitted by Poole, and carried down by the 
kitchen offices and across a yard which had once 
been a garden, to the building which was indifferently 
known as the laboratory or the dissecting-rooms. 
The doctor had bought the house from the heirs of 
a celebrated surgeon ; and, his own tastes being rather 
chemical than anatomical, had changed the destina- 
tion of the block at the bottom of the garden. It 
was the first time that the lawyer had been received 
in that part of his friend's quarters ; and he eyed the 
dingy windowless structure with curiosity, and gazed 
36 



INCIDENT OF THE LETTER 

round with a distasteful sense of strangeness as he 
crossed the theatre, once crowded with eager students 
and now lying gaunt and silent, the tables laden 
with chemical apparatus, the floor strewn with crates 
and littered with packing straw, and the light falling 
dimly through the foggy cupola. At the farther 
end, a flight of stairs mounted to a door covered 
with red baize ; and through this, Mr. Utterson was 
at last received into the doctor's cabinet. It was a 
large room, fitted round with glass presses, furnished, 
among other things, with a cheval-glass and a 
business-table, and looking out upon the court by 
three dusty windows barred with iron. The fire 
burned in the grate ; a lamp was set lighted on the 
chimney shelf, for even in the houses the fog began 
to lie thickly ; and there, close up to the warmth, 
sat Dr. Jekyll, looking deadly sick. He did not rise 
to meet his visitor, but held out a cold hand and 
bade him welcome in a changed voice. 

' And now,' said Mr. Utterson, as soon as Poole 
had left them, ' you have heard the news ? ' 

The doctor shuddered. ' They were crying it in 
the square,' he said. ' I heard them in my dining- 
room.' 

' One word,' said the lawyer. ' Carew was my 
client, but so are you, and I want to know what I 
am doing. You have not been mad enough to hide 
this fellow?' 

' Utterson, I swear to God,' cried the doctor, ' I 
swear to God I will never set eyes on him again. I 
bind my honour to you that I am done with him 

37 



DR. JEKYLL AND MR. HYDE 

in this world. It is all at an end. And indeed he 
does not want my help ; you do not know him as I 
do ; he is safe, he is quite safe ; mark my words, he 
will never more be heard of.' 

The lawyer listened gloomily ; he did not like his 
friend's feverish manner. ' You seem pretty sure 
of him,' said he ; ' and for your sake, I hope you 
may be right. If it came to a trial your name might 
appear.' 

' I am quite sure of him,' replied Jekyll ; ' I have 
grounds for certainty that I cannot share with any 
one. But there is one thing on which you may 
advise me. I have — I have received a letter ; and 
I am at a loss whether I should show it to the police. 
I should like to leave it in your hands, Utterson ; 
you would judge wisely, I am sure ; I have so great 
a trust in you.' 

'You fear, I suppose, that it might lead to his 
detection ? ' asked the lawyer. 

' No,' said the other. ' I cannot say that I care 
what becomes of Hyde ; I am quite done with him. 
I was thinking of my own character, which this hate- 
ful business has rather exposed.' 

Utterson ruminated a while ; he was surprised at 
his friend's selfishness, and yet relieved by it. ' Well,' 
said he at last, 'let me see the letter.' 

The letter was written in an odd, upright hand 
and signed ' Edward Hyde ' : and it signified, briefly 
enough, that the writer's benefactor, Dr. Jekyll, 
whom he had long so unworthily repaid for a thousand 
generosities, need labour under no alarm for his safety, 
38 



INCIDENT OF THE LETTER 

as he had means of escape on which he placed a 
sure dependence. The lawyer liked this letter well 
enough ; it put a better colour on the intimacy than 
he had looked for ; and he blamed himself for some 
of his past suspicions. 

' Have you the envelope ? ' he asked. 

' I burned it,' replied .Tekyll, ' before I thought 
what I was about. But it bore no postmark. The 
note was handed in.' 

' Shall I keep this and sleep upon it ? ' asked 
Utterson. 

' I wish you to judge for me entirely,' was the 
reply. ' I have lost confidence in myself.' 

'Well, I shall consider,' returned the lawyer. — 
' And now one word more : it was Hyde who dictated 
the terms in your will about that disappearance ? ' 

The doctor seemed seized with a qualm of faint- 
ness ; he shut his mouth tight and nodded. 

' I knew it,' said Utterson. ' He meant to murder 
you. You have had a fine escape.' 

' I have had what is far more to the purpose,' 
returned the doctor solemnly : ' I have had a lesson 
— O God, Utterson, what a lesson I have had ! ' 
And he covered his face for a moment with his 
hands. 

On his way out, the lawyer stopped and had a 
word or two with Poole. ' By the by,' said he, 
' there was a letter handed in to-day : what was the 
messenger like ? ' But Poole was positive nothing 
had come except by post ; ' and only circulars by 
that,' he added. 

39 



DR. JEKYLL AND MR. HYDE 

This news sent off the visitor with his fears re- 
newed. Plainly the letter had come by the labora- 
tory door ; possibly, indeed, it had been written in 
the cabinet ; and if that were so, it must be dif- 
ferently judged, and handled with the more caution. 
The newsboys, as he went, were crying themselves 
hoarse along the footways : ' Special edition. Shock- 
ing murder of an M.P.' That was the funeral 
oration of one friend and client; and he could not 
help a certain apprehension lest the good name of 
another should be sucked down in the eddy of the 
scandal. It was, at least, a ticklish decision that he 
had to make ; and, self-reliant as he was by habit, he 
began to cherish a longing for advice. It was not to 
be had directly ; but perhaps, he thought, it might 
be fished for. 

Presently after, he sat on one side of his own 
hearth, with Mr. Guest, his head clerk, upon the 
other, and midway between, at a nicely calculated 
distance from the fire, a bottle of a particular old 
wine that had long dwelt unsunned in the founda- 
tions of his house. The fog still slept on the wing 
above the drowned city, where the lamps glimmered 
like carbuncles ; and through the muffle and smother 
of these fallen clouds, the procession of the town's 
life was still rolling on through the great arteries 
with a sound as of a mighty wind. But the room 
was gay with firelight. In the bottle the acids were 
long ago resolved ; the imperial dye had softened 
with time, as the colour grows richer in stained 
windows ; and the glow of hot autumn afternoons 
40 



INCIDENT OF THE LETTER 

on hillside vineyards was ready to be set free and to 
disperse the fogs of London. Insensibly the lawyer 
melted. There was no man from whom he kept 
fewer secrets than Mr. Guest ; and he was not 
always sure that he kept as many as he meant. 
Guest had often been on business to the doctor's ; 
he knew Poole ; he could scarce have failed to hear 
of Mr. Hyde's familiarity about the house ; he might 
draw conclusions : was it not as well, then, that he 
should see a letter which put that mystery to rights ? 
and above all since Guest, being a great student 
and critic of handwriting, would consider the step 
natural and obliging? The clerk, besides, was a 
man of counsel ; he would scarce read so strange 
a document without dropping a remark ; and by 
that remark Mr. Utterson might shape his future 
course. 

' This is a sad business about Sir Dan vers,' he 
said. 

' Yes, sir, indeed. It has elicited a great deal of 
public feeling,' returned Guest. 'The man, of 
course, was mad.' 

* I should like to hear your views on that,' replied 
Utterson. ' I have a document here in his hand- 
writing ; it is between ourselves, for I scarce know 
what to do about it ; it is an ugly business at the 
best. But there it is ; quite in your way : a mur- 
derer's autograph.' 

Guest's eyes brightened, and he sat down at once 
and studied it with passion. ' No, sir,' he said ; ' not 
mad ; but it is an odd hand.' 

41 



DR. JEKYLL AND MR. HYDE 

' And by all accounts a very odd writer,' added the 
lawyer. 

Just then the servant entered with a note. 

' Is that from Dr. Jekyll, sir ? ' inquired the clerk. 
' I thought I knew the writing. Anything private, 
Mr. Utterson ? ' 

' Only an invitation to dinner. Why ? do you 
want to see it ? ' 

' One moment. I thank you, sir ' ; and the clerk 
laid the two sheets of paper alongside and sedulously 
compared their contents. ' Thank you, sir,' he said 
at last, returning both ; ' it 's a very interesting auto- 
graph.' 

There was a pause, during which Mr. Utterson 
struggled with himself. 'Why did you compare 
them, Guest ? ' he inquired suddenly. 

' Well, sir,' returned the clerk, ' there 's a rather 
singular resemblance ; the two hands are in many 
points identical : only differently sloped.' 

' Rather quaint,' said Utterson. 

' It is, as you say, rather quaint,' returned Guest. 

' I wouldn't speak of this note, you know,' said the 
master. 

' No, sir,' said the clerk. ' I understand.' 

But no sooner was Mr. Utterson alone that night 
than he locked the note into his safe, where it reposed 
from that time forward. ' What ! ' he thought. 
' Henry Jekyll forge for a murderer ! ' And his 
blood ran cold in his veins. 



42 



INCIDENT OF DR. LANYON 

REMARKABLE INCIDENT OF 
DR. LANYON 

Time ran on ; thousands of pounds were offered in 
reward, for the death of Sir Danvers was resented 
as a public injury ; but Mr. Hyde had disappeared 
out of the ken of the police as though he had never 
existed. Much of his past was unearthed, indeed, 
and all disreputable : tales came out of the man's 
cruelty, at once so callous and violent, of his vile life, 
of his strange associates, of the hatred that seemed 
to have surrounded his career ; but of his present 
whereabouts, not a whisper. From the time he had 
left the house in Soho on the morning of the murder, 
he was simply blotted out; and gradually, as time 
drew on, Mr. Utterson began to recover from the 
hotness of his alarm, and to grow more at quiet with 
himself. The death of Sir Danvers was, to his way 
of thinking, more than paid for by the disappearance 
of Mr. Hyde. Now that that evil influence had 
been withdrawn, a new life began for Dr. Jekyll. 
He came out of his seclusion, renewed relations with 
his friends, became once more their familiar guest 
and entertainer ; and whilst he had always been 
known for charities, he was now no less distinguished 
for religion. He was busy, he was much in the 
open air, he did good ; his face seemed to open and 
brighten, as if with an inward consciousness of ser- 
vice ; and for more than two months the doctor was 
at peace. 

43 



DR. JEKYLL AND MR. HYDE 

On the 8th of January Utterson had dined at the 
doctor's with a small party ; Lanyon had been there ; 
and the face of the host had looked from one to the 
other as in the old days when the trio were insepar- 
able friends. On the 12th, and again on the 14th, 
the door was shut against the lawyer. ' The doctor 
was confined to the house,' Poole said, ' and saw no 
one.' On the 15th he tried again, and was again 
refused ; and having now been used for the last two 
months to see his friend almost daily, he found this 
return of solitude to weigh upon his spirits. The 
fifth night he had in Guest to dine with him ; and 
the sixth he betook himself to Dr. Lanyon's. 

There at least he was not denied admittance ; but 
when he came in, he was shocked at the change 
which had taken place in the doctor's appearance. 
He had his death-warrant written legibly upon his 
face. The rosy man had grown pale ; his flesh had 
fallen away ; he was visibly balder and older ; and 
yet it was not so much these tokens of a swift 
physical decay that arrested the lawyer's notice, as 
a look in the eye and quality of manner that seemed 
to testify to some deep-seated terror of the mind. 
It was unlikely that the doctor should fear death ; 
and yet that was what Utterson was tempted to 
suspect. ' Yes,' he thought ; ' he is a doctor, he 
must know his own state and that his days are 
counted ; and the knowledge is more than he can 
bear.' And yet when Utterson remarked on his ill- 
looks, it was with an air of great firmness that 
Lanyon declared himself a doomed man. 
44 



INCIDENT OF DR. LANYON 

' I have had a shock,' he said, ' and I shall never 
recover. It is a question of weeks. Well, life h;is 
been pleasant ; I liked it ; yes, sir, I used to like it. 
I sometimes think if we knew all we should be more 
glad to get away.' 

' Jekyll is ill too,' observed Utterson. ' Have you 
seen him ? ' 

But Lanyon's face changed, and he held up a 
trembling hand. ' I wish to see or hear no more of 
Dr. Jekyll,' he said in a loud, unsteady voice. ' I am 
quite done with that person ; and I beg that you will 
spare me any allusion to one whom I regard as dead.' 

' Tut-tut,' said Mr. Utterson ; and then, after a 
considerable pause, ' Can't I do anything ? ' he in- 
quired. ' We are three very old friends, Lanyon ; 
we shall not live to make others.' 

' Nothing can be done,' returned Lanyon ; ' ask 
himself. ' 

' He will not see me,' said the lawyer. 

' I am not surprised at that,' was the reply. 
' Some day, Utterson, after I am dead, you may 
perhaps come to learn the right and wrong of this. 
I cannot tell you. And in the meantime, if you can 
sit and talk with me of other things, for God's sake 
stay and do so ; but if you cannot keep clear of this 
accursed topic, then, in God's name, go, for I cannot 
bear it.' 

As soon as he got home, Utterson sat down and 
wrote to Jekyll, complaining of his exclusion from 
the house, and asking the cause of this unhappy 
break with Lanyon ; and the next day brought him 

45 



DR. JEKYLL AND MR. HYDE 

a long answer, often very pathetically worded, and 
sometimes darkly mysterious in drift The quarrel 
with Lanyon was incurable. ' I do not blame our 
old friend,' Jekyll wrote, ' but I share his view that 
we must never meet. I mean from henceforth to 
lead a life of extreme seclusion ; you must not be 
surprised, nor must you doubt my friendship, if my 
door is often shut even to you. You must suffer 
me to go my own dark way. I have brought on 
myself a punishment and a danger that I cannot 
name. If I am the chief of sinners, I am the chief 
of sufferers also. I could not think that this earth 
contained a place for sufferings and terrors so un- 
manning ; and you can do but one thing, Utterson, 
to lighten this destiny, and that is to respect my 
silence.' Utterson was amazed ; the dark influence 
of Hyde had been withdrawn, the doctor had re- 
turned to his old tasks and amities ; a week ago, the 
prospect had smiled with every promise of a cheerful 
and an honoured age ; and now in a moment, friend- 
ship and peace of mind and the whole tenor of his 
life were wrecked. So great and unprepared a 
change pointed to madness ; but in view of Lanyon 's 
manner and words, there must lie for it some deeper 
ground. 

A week afterwards Dr. Lanyon took to his bed, 
and in something less than a fortnight he was dead. 
The night after the funeral, at which he had been 
sadly affected, Utterson locked the door of his 
business-room, and sitting there by the light of a 
melancholy candle, drew out and set before him an 
46 



INCIDENT OF DR. LANYON 

envelope addressed by the hand and sealed with the 
seal of his dead friend. * Private : for the hands of 
J. G. Utterson alone, and in case of his predecease 
to be destroyed unread,' so it was emphatically 
superscribed ; and the lawyer dreaded to behold the 
contents. ' I have buried one friend to-day,' he 
thought : ' what if this should cost me another ? ' 
And then he condemned the fear as a disloyalty, and 
broke the seal. Within there was another enclosure, 
likewise sealed, and marked upon the cover as ' not 
to be opened till the death or disappearance of Dr. 
Henry Jekyll.' Utterson could not trust his eyes. 
Yes, it was disappearance ; here again, as in the mad 
will which he had long ago restored to its author, 
here again were the idea of a disappearance and the 
name of Henry Jekyll bracketed. But in the will 
that idea had sprung from the sinister suggestion of 
the man Hyde ; it was set there with a purpose all 
too plain and horrible. Written by the hand of 
Lanyon, what should it mean ? A great curiosity 
came on the trustee, to disregard the prohibition and 
dive at once to the bottom of these mysteries ; but 
professional honour and faith to his dead friend were 
stringent obligations ; and the packet slept in the 
inmost corner of his private safe. 

It is one thing to mortify curiosity, another to 
conquer it ; and it may be doubted if, from that day 
forth, Utterson desired the society of his surviving 
friend with the same eagerness. He thought of him 
kindly ; but his thoughts were disquieted and fearful. 
He went to call indeed ; but he was perhaps relieved 

47 



DR. JEKYLL AND MR. HYDE 

to be denied admittance ; perhaps, in his heart, he 
preferred to speak with Poole upon the doorstep and 
surrounded by the air and sounds of the open city, 
rather than to be admitted into that house of volun- 
tary bondage, and to sit and speak with its inscrut- 
able recluse. Poole had, indeed, no very pleasant 
news to communicate. The doctor, it appeared, 
now more than ever confined himself to the cabinet 
over the laboratory, where he would sometimes even 
sleep ; he was out of spirits, he had grown very 
silent, he did not read ; it seemed as if he had some- 
thing on his mind. Utterson became so used to the 
unvarying character of these reports, that he fell off 
little by little in the frequency of his visits. 



INCIDENT AT THE WINDOW 

It chanced on Sunday, when Mr. Utterson was on 
his usual walk with Mr. Enfield, that their way lay 
once again through the bystreet ; and that when they 
came in front of the door, both stopped to gaze on it 

' Well,' said Enfield, ' that story 's at an end at 
least. We shall never see more of Mr. Hyde.' 

' I hope not,' said Utterson. ' Did I ever tell you 
that I once saw him, and shared your feeling of 
repulsion ? ' 

' It was impossible to do the one without the 
other,' returned Enfield. ' And by the way, what 
an ass you must have thought me, not to know that 
48 



INCIDENT AT THE WINDOW 

this was a back way to Dr. Jekyll's ! It was partly 
your own fault that 1 found it out, even when I did.' 

' So you found it out, did you ? ' said Utterson. 
' But if that be so, we may step into the court and 
take a look at the windows. To tell you the truth, I 
am^uneasy about poor Jekyll ; and even outside, I feel 
as if the presence of a friend might do him good.' 

The court was very cool and a little damp, and 
full of premature twilight, although the sky, high up 
overhead, was still bright with sunset. The middle 
one of the three windows was half-way open ; and 
sitting close beside it, taking the air with an infinite 
sadness of mien, like some disconsolate prisoner, 
Utterson saw Dr. Jekyll. 

'What! Jekyll!' he cried. ' I trust you are better.' 

' I am very low, Utterson,' replied the doctor 
drearily, 'very low. It will not last long, thank God. ' 

' You stay too much indoors,' said the lawyer. 
' You should be out, whipping up the circulation 
like Mr. Enfield and me. (This is my cousin — Mr. 
Enfield — Dr. Jekyll. ) Come now ; get your hat and 
take a quick turn with us.' 

'You are very good,' sighed the other. 'I should 
like to very much ; but no, no, no, it is quite impos- 
sible ; I dare not. But indeed, Utterson, I am very 
glad to see you ; this is really a great pleasure ; I 
would ask you and Mr. Enfield up, but the place is 
really not fit.' 

'Why then,' said the lawyer good-naturedly, 'the 
best thing we can do is to stay down here and speak 
with you from where we are.' 

8 — d 49 



DR. JEKYLL AND MR. HYDE 

'That is just what I was about to venture to pro- 
pose,' returned the doctor, with a smile. But the 
words were hardly uttered, before the smile was 
struck out of his face and succeeded by an expres- 
sion of such abject terror and despair as froze the 
very blood of the two gentlemen below. They saw 
it but for a glimpse, for the window was instantly 
thrust down ; but that glimpse had been sufficient, 
and they turned and left the court without a word. 
In silence, too, they traversed the bystreet ; and it 
was not until they had come into a neighbouring 
thoroughfare, where even upon a Sunday there were 
still some stirrings of life, that Mr. Utterson at last 
turned and looked at his companion. They were 
both pale ; and there was an answering horror in 
their eyes. 

' God forgive us, God forgive us! ' said Mr. Utterson. 

But Mr. Enfield only nodded his head very 
seriously, and walked on once more in silence. 



THE LAST NIGHT 

Mr. Utterson was sitting by his fireside one even- 
ing after dinner, when he was surprised to receive a 
visit from Poole. 

' Bless me, Poole, what brings you here ? ' he 
cried ; and then, taking a second look at him, ' What 
ails you ? ' he added, ' is the doctor ill ? ' 
50 



THE LAST NIGHT 

' Mr. Utterson,' said the man, ' there is something 



wrong. 



' Take a seat, and here is a glass of wine for you,' 
said the lawyer. ' Now, take your time, and tell me 
plainly what you want.' 

' You know the doctor's ways, sir,' replied Poole, 
' and how he shuts himself up. Well, he 's shut 
up again in the cabinet ; and I don't like it, sir — I 
wish I may die if I like it. Mr. Utterson, sir, I 'm 
afraid.' 

' Now, my good man,' said the lawyer, ' be explicit. 
What are you afraid of ? ' 

' I 've been afraid for about a week,' returned 
Poole, doggedly disregarding the question, ' and I 
can bear it no more.' 

The man's appearance amply bore out his words ; 
his manner was altered for the worse ; and except for 
the moment when he had first announced his terror, 
he had not once looked the lawyer in the face. Even 
now, he sat with the glass of wine untasted on his 
knee, and his eyes directed to a corner of the floor. 
' I can bear it no more,' he repeated. 

' Come,' said the lawyer, ' I see you have some 
good reason, Poole; I see there is something seriously 
amiss. Try to tell me what it is.' 

' I think there 's been foul play,' said Poole 
hoarsely. 

1 Foul play ! ' cried the lawyer, a good deal 
frightened, and rather inclined to be irritated in con- 
sequence. * What foul play ? What does the man 
mean ? ' 

5i 



DR. JEKYLL AND MR. HYDE 

' I daren't say, sir,' was the answer ; ' but will you 
come along with me and see for yourself? ' 

Mr. Utterson's only answer was to rise and get his 
hat and greatcoat ; but he observed with wonder 
the greatness of the relief that appeared upon the 
butler's face, and perhaps with no less, that the wine 
was still untasted when he set it down to follow. 

It was a wild, cold, seasonable night of March, 
with a pale moon, lying on her back as though the 
wind had tilted her, and a flying wrack of the most 
diaphanous and lawny texture. The wind made 
talking difficult, and flecked the blood into the face. 
It seemed to have swept the streets unusually bare 
of passengers, besides ; for Mr. Utterson thought he 
had never seen that part of London so deserted. 
He could have wished it otherwise ; never in his life 
had he been conscious of so sharp a wish to see and 
touch his fellow-creatures ; for, struggle as he might, 
there was borne in upon his mind a crushing antici- 
pation of calamity. The square, when they got 
there, was all full of wind and dust, and the thin 
trees in the garden were lashing themselves along 
the railing. Poole, who had kept all the way a pace 
or two ahead, now pulled up in the middle of the 
pavement, and, in spite of the biting weather, took 
off his hat and mopped his brow with a red pocket- 
handkerchief. But for all the hurry of his coming, 
these were not the dews of exertion that he wiped 
away, but the moisture of some strangling anguish ; 
for his face was white, and his voice, when he spoke, 
harsh and broken. 
52 



THE LAST NIGHT 

' Well, sir,' he said, ' here we are, and God grant 
there be nothing wrong.' 

' Amen, Poole,' said the lawyer. 

Thereupon the servant knocked in a very guarded 
manner ; the door was opened on the chain ; and a 
voice asked from within, ' Is that you, Poole ? ' 

' It's all right,' said Poole. ' Open the door.' 

The hall, when they entered it, was brightly 
lighted up ; the fire was built high ; and about the 
hearth the whole of the servants, men and women, 
stood huddled together like a flock of sheep. At 
the sight of Mr. Utterson the housemaid broke into 
hysterical whimpering ; and the cook, crying out 
' Bless God ! it 's Mr. Utterson,' ran forward as if to 
take him in her arms. 

' What, what ? Are you all here ? ' said the lawyer 
peevishly. ' Very irregular, very unseemly ; your 
master would be far from pleased.' 

' They 're all afraid,' said Poole. 

Blank silence followed, no one protesting ; only 
the maid lifted up her voice and now wept loudly. 

' Hold your tongue ! ' Poole said to her, with a 
ferocity of accent that testified to his own jangled 
nerves ; and indeed, when the girl had so suddenly 
raised the note of her lamentation, they had all 
started and turned towards the inner door with faces 
of dreadful expectation. ' And now,' continued the 
butler, addressing the knife-boy, ' reach me a candle, 
and we'll get this through hands at once.' And 
then he begged Mr. Utterson to follow him, and led 
the way to the back-garden. 

53 



DR. JEKYLL AND MR. HYDE 

'Now sir,' said he, 'you come as gently as you 
can. I want you to hear, and I don't want you to 
be heard. And see here, sir, if by any chance he 
was to ask you in, don't go.' 

Mr. Utterson's nerves, at this unlooked-for ter- 
mination, gave a jerk that nearly threw him from his 
balance ; but he re-collected his courage and followed 
the butler into the laboratory building and through 
the surgical theatre, with its lumber of crates and 
bottles, to the foot of the stair. Here Poole motioned 
him to stand on one side and listen ; while he him- 
self, setting down the candle and making a great 
and obvious call on his resolution, mounted the steps 
and knocked with a somewhat uncertain hand on 
the red baize of the cabinet door. 

' Mr. Utterson, sir, asking to see you,' he called ; 
and, even as he did so, once more violently signed to 
the lawyer to give ear. 

A voice answered from within : ' Tell him I cannot 
see any one,' it said complainingly. 

' Thank you, sir,' said Poole, with a note of some- 
thing like triumph in his voice ; and taking up his 
candle, lie led Mr. Utterson back across the yard and 
into the great kitchen, where the fire was out and 
the beetles were leaping on the floor. 

' Sir,' he said, looking Mr. Utterson in the eyes, 
' was that my master's voice ? ' 

' It seems much changed,' replied the lawyer, very 
pale, but giving look for look. 

' Changed ? Well, yes, I think so,' said the butler. 
' Have I been twenty years in this man's house, to 
54 



THE LAST NIGHT 

be deceived about his voice ? No, sir ; master 's made 
away with ; he was made away with eight days ago, 
when we heard him cry out upon the name of God ; 
and who 's in there instead of him, and why it stays 
there, is a thing that cries to Heaven, Mr. Utterson ! ' 

' This is a very strange tale, Poole ; this is rather 
a wild tale, my man,' said Mr. Utterson, biting his 
finger. ' Suppose it were as you suppose, suppos- 
ing Dr. .Tekyll to have been — well, murdered, what 
could induce the murderer to stay ? That won't 
hold water ; it doesn't commend itself to reason.' 

'Well, Mr. Utterson, you are a hard man to 
satisfy, but I '11 do it yet,' said Poole. ' All this last 
week (you must know) him, or it, or whatever it is 
that lives in that cabinet, has been crying night and 
day for some sort of medicine and cannot get it to 
his mind. It was sometimes his way — the master's, 
that is— to write his orders on a sheet of paper and 
throw it on the stair. We 've had nothing else this 
week back ; nothing but papers, and a closed door, 
and the very meals left there to be smuggled in 
when nobody was looking. Well, sir, every day, 
ay, and twice and thrice in the same day, there have 
been orders and complaints, and I have been sent 
flying to all the wholesale chemists in town. Every 
time I brought the stuff back, there would be another 
paper telling me to return it, because it was not 
pure, and another order to a different firm. This 
drug is wanted bitter bad, sir, whatever for.' 

* Have you any of these papers ? ' asked Mr. 
Utterson. 

55 



DR. JEKYLL AND MR HYDE 

Poole felt in his pocket and handed out a crumpled 
note, which the lawyer, bending nearer to the candle, 
carefully examined. Its contents ran thus : ' Dr. 
Jekyll presents his compliments to Messrs. Maw. 
He assures them that their last sample is impure, 
and quite useless for his present purpose. In the 
year 18 — , Dr. J. purchased a somewhat large 
quantity from Messrs. M. He now begs them to 
search with the most sedulous care, and should any 
of the same quality be left, to forward it to him at 
once. Expense is no consideration. The importance 
of this to Dr. J. can hardly be exaggerated.' So far 
the letter had run composedly enough, but here, 
with a sudden splutter of the pen, the writer's 
emotion had broken loose. ' For God's sake,' he had 
added, 'find me some of the old.' 

' This is a strange note,' said Mr. Utterson ; and 
then sharply, ' how do you come to have it open ? ' 

' The man at Maw's was main angry, sir, and he 
threw it back to me like so much dirt,' returned 
Poole. 

' This is unquestionably the doctor's hand, do you 
know ? ' resumed the lawyer. 

' I thought it looked like it,' said the servant rather 
sulkily ; and then, with another voice, ' But what 
matters hand-of- write,' he said. ' I 've seen him ! ' 

' Seen him ? ' repeated Mr. Utterson. ' Well ? ' 

' That 's it ! ' said Poole. ' It was this way. I 

came suddenly into the theatre from the garden. It 

seems he had slipped out to look for this drug, or 

whatever it is ; for the cabinet door was open, and 

56 



THE LAS! NIGHT 

there he was at the far end of the room digging 
among the crates. He looked up when I came in, 
gave a kind of cry, and whipped upstairs into the 
cabinet It was but for one minute that I saw him, 
but the hair stood up on my head like quills. Sir, if 
that was my master, why had he a mask upon his 
face ? If it was my master, why did he cry out like 
a rat, and run from me ? I have served him long 
enough. And then . . .' the man paused and passed 
his hand over his face. 

'These are all very strange circumstances,' said 
Mr. Utterson, 'but I think I begin to see daylight. 
Your master, Poole, is plainly seized with one of 
those maladies that both torture and deform the 
sufferer ; hence, for aught I know, the alteration of 
his voice ; hence the mask and his avoidance of his 
friends ; hence his eagerness to find this drug, by 
means of which the poor soul retains some hope 
of ultimate recovery — God grant that he be not 
deceived ! There is my explanation ; it is sad 
enough, Poole, ay, and appalling to consider ; but it 
is plain and natural, hangs well together, and delivers 
us from all exorbitant alarms.' 

' Sir,' said the butler, turning to a sort of mottled 
pallor, ' that thing was not my master, and there 's 
the truth. My master ' — here he looked round him 
and began to whisper — 'is a tall fine build of a man, 
and this was more of a dwarf.' Utterson attempted 
to protest. ' O sir,' cried Poole, ' do you think I do 
not know my master after twenty years ? do you 
think I do not know where his head comes to in the 

57 



DR. JEKYLL AND MR. HYDE 

cabinet door, where I saw him every morning of my 
life ? No, sir, that thing in the mask was never 
Dr. Jekyll — God knows what it was, but it was 
never Dr. Jekyll ; and it is the belief of my heart 
that there was murder done.' 

'Poole,' replied the lawyer, 'if you say that, it 
will become my duty to make certain. Much as I 
desire to spare your master's feelings, much as I am 
puzzled by this note which seems to prove him to be 
still alive, I shall consider it my duty to break in 
that door.' 

' Ah, Mr. Utterson, that 's talking ! ' cried the 
butler. 

'And now comes the second question,' resumed 
Utterson : ' Who is going to do it ? ' 

' Why, you and me, sir,' was the undaunted reply. 

' That is very well said,' returned the lawyer ; ' and 
whatever comes of it, I shall make it my business to 
see you are no loser.' 

' There is an axe in the theatre,' continued Poole ; 
' and you might take the kitchen poker for yourself.' 

The lawyer took that rude but weighty instrument 
into his hand, and balanced it. 'Do you know, 
Poole,' he said, looking up, ' that you and I are 
about to place ourselves in a position of some peril ? ' 

' You may say so, sir, indeed,' returned the butler. 

' It is well, then, that we should be frank,' said 
the other. ' We both think more than we have said ; 
let us make a clean breast. This masked figure that 
you saw, did you recognise it ? ' 

' Well, sir, it went so quick, and the creature was 
58 



THE LAST NIGHT 

so doubled up, that I could hardly swear to that,' 
was the answer. ' But if you mean, was it Mr. 
Hyde ? — why, yes, I think it was ! You see, it was 
much of the same bigness ; and it had the same 
quick light way with it ; and then who else could 
have got in by the laboratory door ? You have not 
forgot, sir, that at the time of the murder he had 
still the key with him ? But that 's not all. I don't 
know, Mr. Utterson, if ever you met this Mr. Hyde ? ' 
'Yes,' said the lawyer, 'I once spoke with him.' 

• Then you must know as well as the rest of us 
that there was something queer about that gentleman 
— something that gave a man a turn — I don't know 
rightly how to say it, sir, beyond this : that you felt 
it in your marrow kind of cold and thin.' 

• I own I felt something of what you describe,' 
said Mr. Utterson. 

' Quite so, sir,' returned Poole. ' Well, when that 
masked thing like a monkey jumped from among the 
chemicals and whipped into the cabinet, it went 
down my spine like ice. Oh, I know it 's not evidence, 
Mr. Utterson ; I 'm book-learned enough for that ; 
but a man has his feelings, and I give you my Bible- 
word it was Mr. Hyde ! ' 

' Ay, ay,' said the lawyer. ' My fears incline to 
the same point. Evil, I fear, founded — evil was sure 
to come — of that connection. Ay, truly, I believe 
you ; I believe poor Harry is killed ; and I believe 
his murderer (for what purpose, God alone can tell) 
is still lurking in his victim's room. Well, let our 
name be vengeance. Call Bradshaw.' 

59 



DR JEKYLL AND MR. HYDE 

The footman came at the summons, very white 
and nervous. 

1 Pull yourself together, Bradshaw,' said the lawyer. 
' This suspense, I know, is telling upon all of you ; 
but it is now our intention to make an end of it. 
Poole, here, and I are going to force our way into 
the cabinet. If all is well, my shoulders are broad 
enough to bear the blame. Meanwhile, lest anything 
should really be amiss, or any malefactor seek to 
escape by the back, you and the boy must go round 
the corner with a pair of good sticks, and take your 
post at the laboratory door. We give you ten 
minutes to get to your stations.' 

As Bradshaw left, the lawyer looked at his watch. 
' And now, Poole, let us get to ours,' he said ; and 
taking the poker under his arm, he led the way into 
the yard. The scud had banked over the moon, and 
it was now quite dark. The wind, which only broke 
in puffs and draughts into that deep well of building, 
tossed the light of the candle to and fro about their 
steps, until they came into the shelter of the theatre, 
where they sat down silently to wait. London 
hummed solemnly all around ; but nearer at hand, 
the stillness was only broken by the sound of a 
footfall moving: to and fro along the cabinet floor. 

' So it will walk all day, sir,' whispered Poole ; 
1 ay, and the better part of the night. Only when a 
new sample comes from the chemist, there 's a bit of 
a break. Ah, it 's an ill conscience that s such an 
enemy to rest ! Ah, sir, there 's blood foully shed 
in every step of it ! But hark again, a little closer 
6o 



THE LAST NIGHT 

— put your heart in your ears, Mr. Utterson, and 
tell me, is that the doctor's foot ? ' 

The steps fell lightly and oddly, with a certain 
swing, for all they went so slowly ; it was different 
indeed from the heavy creaking tread of Henry 
Jekyll. Utterson sighed. ' Is there never anything 
else ? ' he asked. 

Poole nodded. ' Once,' he said. ' Once I heard 
it weeping ! ' 

' Weeping ? how that ? ' said the lawyer, conscious 
of a sudden chill of horror. 

' Weeping like a woman or a lost soul,' said the 
butler. ' I came away with that upon my heart 
that I could have wept too.' 

But now the ten minutes drew to an end. Poole 
disinterred the axe from under a stack of packing 
straw ; the candle was set upon the nearest table to 
light them to the attack ; and they drew near with 
bated breath to where that patient foot was still 
going up and down, up and down, in the quiet of 
the night. 

'Jekyll,' cried Utterson, with a loud voice, 'I 
demand to see you.' He paused a moment, but 
there came no reply. ' I give you fair warning, our 
suspicions are aroused, and I must and shall see 
you,' he resumed ; ' if not by fair means, then by 
foul — if not of your consent, then by brute force ! ' 

' Utterson,' said the voice, ' for God's sake have 
mercy ! ' 

' Ah, that 's not Jekyll's voice — it 's Hyde's ! ' cried 
Utterson. ' Down with the door, Poole. ' 

61 



DR. JEKYLL AND MR. HYDE 

t 

Poole swung the axe over his shoulder ; the blow 
shook the building, and the red baize door leaped 
against the lock and hinges. A dismal screech, as of 
mere animal terror, rang from the cabinet. Up 
went the axe again, and again the panels crashed 
and the frame bounded ; four times the blow fell ; 
but the wood was tough and the fittings were of 
excellent workmanship ; and it was not until the 
fifth, that the lock burst in sunder and the wreck of 
the door fell inwards on the carpet. 

The besiegers, appalled by their own riot and the 
stillness that had succeeded, stood back a little and 
peered in. There lay the cabinet before their eyes 
in the quiet lamplight, a good fire glowing and 
chattering on the hearth, the kettle singing its thin 
strain, a drawer or two open, papers neatly set forth 
on the business-table, and, nearer the fire, the, things 
laid out for tea : the quietest room, you would have 
said, and, but for the glazed presses full of chemicals, 
the most commonplace that night in London. 

Right in the midst there lay the body of a man 
sorely contorted, and still twitching. They drew 
near on tiptoe, turned it on its back, and beheld the 
face of Edward Hyde. He was dressed in clothes 
far too large for him, clothes of the doctor's bigness ; 
the cords of his face still moved with a semblance of 
life, but life was quite gone ; and by the crushed 
phial in the hand and the strong smell of kernels 
that hung upon the air, Utterson knew that he was 
looking on the body of a self-destroyer. 

1 We have come too late,' he said sternly, 
62 



THE LAST NIGHT 

' whether to save or punish. Hyde is gone to his 
account ; and it only remains for us to find the body 
of your master.' 

The far greater proportion of the building was 
occupied by the theatre, which filled almost the 
whole ground story and was lighted from above, and 
by the cabinet, which formed an upper story at one 
end and looked upon the court. A corridor joined 
the theatre to the door on the bystreet, and with 
this, the cabinet communicated separately by a 
second flight of stairs. There were besides a few 
dark closets and a spacious cellar. All these they 
now thoroughly examined. Each closet needed 
but a glance, for all were empty, and all, by the 
dust that fell from their doors, had stood long 
unopened. The cellar, indeed, was filled with crazy 
lumber, mostly dating from the times of the surgeon 
who was Jekyll's predecessor; but even as they 
opened the door, they were advertised of the useless- 
ness of further search, by the fall of a perfect mat of 
cobweb which had for years sealed up the entrance. 
Nowhere was there any trace of Henry Jekyll, dead 
or alive. 

Poole stamped on the flags of the corridor. ' He 
must be buried here,' he said, hearkening to the 
sound. 

' Or he may have fled,' said Utterson ; and he 
turned to examine the door in the bystreet. It was 
locked ; and lying near by on the flags, they found 
the key, already stained with rust. 

' This does not look like use,' observed the lawyer. 

63 



DR. JEKYLL AND MR. HYDE 

' Use ! ' echoed Poole. ' Do you not see, sir, it is 
broken ? much as if a man had stamped on it. ' 

'Ay,' continued Utterson, 'and the fractures, too, 
are rusty.' The two men looked at each other with 
a scare. ' This is beyond me, Poole,' said the 
lawyer. ' Let us go back to the cabinet.' 

They mounted the stair in silence, and, still with 
an occasional awe-struck glance at the dead body, 
proceeded more thoroughly to examine the contents 
of the cabinet. At one table there were traces of 
chemical work, various measured heaps of some 
white salt being laid on glass saucers, as though for 
an experiment in which the unhappy man had been 
prevented. 

' That is the same drug that I was always bring- 
ing him,' said Poole ; and even as he spoke, the 
kettle with a startling noise boiled over. 

This brought them to the fireside, where the easy- 
chair was drawn cosily up, and the tea-things stood 
ready to the sitter's elbow, the very sugar in the 
cup. There were several books on a shelf; one lay 
beside the tea-things open, and Utterson was amazed 
to find it a copy of a pious work, for which Jekyll 
had several times expressed a great esteem, annot- 
ated, in his own hand, with startling blasphemies. 

Next, in the course of their review of the chamber, 
the searchers came to the cheval glass, into whose 
depths they looked with an involuntary horror. 
But it was so turned as to show them nothing but 
the rosy glow playing on the roof, the fire sparkling 
in a hundred repetitions along the glazed front of 
64 



THE LAST NIGHT 

the presses, and their own pale and fearful counten- 
ances stooping to look in. 

' This glass have seen some strange things, sir," 
whispered Poole. 

'And surely none stranger than itself,' echoed the 
lawyer in the same tones. ' For what did Jekyll ' — 
he caught himself up at the word with a start, and 
then conquering the weakness : ' what could Jekyll 
want with it ? ' he said. 

' You may say that ! ' said Poole. 

Next they turned to the business-table. On the 
desk among the neat array of papers, a large en- 
velope was uppermost, and bore, in the doctor's 
hand, the name of Mr. Utterson. The lawyer 
unsealed it, and several enclosures fell to the floor. 
The first was a will, drawn in the same eccentric 
terms as the one which he had returned six months 
before, to serve as a testament in case of death and 
as a deed of gift in case of disappearance; but, in 
place of the name of Edward Hyde, the lawyer, 
with indescribable amazement, read the name of 
Gabriel John Utterson. He looked at Poole, and 
then back at the paper, and last of all at the dead 
malefactor stretched upon the carpet. 

' My head goes round,' he said. ' He has been all 
these days in possession ; he had no cause to like 
me ; he must have raged to see himself displaced ; 
and he has not destroyed this document.' 

He caught up the next paper ; it was a brief 
note in the doctor's hand, and dated at the top. 
' O Poole ! ' the lawyer cried, ' he was alive and here 
8-e 65 



DR. JEKYLL AND MR. HYDE 

this day. He cannot have been disposed of in so 
short a space, he must be still alive, he must have 
fled ! And then, why fled ? and how ? and in that 
case, can we venture to declare this suicide ? Oh, we 
must be careful. I foresee that we may yet involve 
your master in some dire catastrophe.' 

' Why don't you read it, sir ? ' asked Poole. 

' Because I fear, ' replied the lawyer solemnly. ' God 
grant I* have no cause for it!' And with that he 
brought the paper to his eyes and read as follows : 

' My dear Utterson, — When this shall fall into 
your hands, I shall have disappeared, under what 
circumstances I have not the penetration to foresee, 
but my instinct and all the circumstances of my 
nameless situation tell me that the end is sure, and 
must be early. Go then, and first read the narrative 
which Lanyon warned me he was to place in your 
hands ; and if you care to hear more, turn to the 
confession of 

' Your unworthy and unhappy friend, 

' Henry Jekyll.' 

' There was a third enclosure ? ' asked Utterson. 

' Here, sir,' said Poole, and gave into his hands a 
considerable packet sealed in several places. 

The lawyer put it in his pocket. ' I would say 
nothing of this paper. If your master has fled or is 
dead, we may at least save his credit. It is now 
ten ; I must go home and read these documents in 
quiet ; but I shall be back before midnight, when we 
shall send for the police.' 
66 



THE LAST NIGHT 

They went out, locking the door of the theatre 
behind them ; and Utterson, once more leaving the 
servants gathered about the fire in the hall, trudged 
back to his office to read the two narratives in which 
this mystery was now to be explained. 



DR. LANYON'S NARRATIVE 

On the ninth of January, now four days ago, I 
received by the evening delivery a registered en- 
velope, addressed in the hand of my colleague and 
old school-companion, Henry Jekyll. I was a good 
deal surprised by this ; for we were by no means in 
the habit of correspondence ; I had seen the man, 
dined with him, indeed, the night before ; and I 
could imagine nothing in our intercourse that 
should justify the formality of registration. The 
contents increased my wonder ; for this is how the 
letter ran : — 

' 10th December 18— 

' Dear Lanyon, — You are one of my oldest 
friends ; and although we may have differed at times 
on scientific questions, I cannot remember, at least 
on my side, any break in our affection. There was 
never a day when, if you had said to me, " Jekyll, 
my life, my honour, my reason, depend upon you," 
I would not have sacrificed my fortune or my left 
hand to help you. Lanyon, my life, my honour, my 
reason, are all at your mercy ; if you fail me to- 

6 7 



DR. JEKYLL AND MR HYDE 

night, I am lost. You might suppose, after this 
preface, that I am going to ask you for something 
dishonourable to grant. Judge for yourself. 

' I want you to postpone all other engagements 
for to-night — ay, even if you were summoned to the 
bedside of an emperor ; to take a cab, unless your 
carriage should be actually at the door; and with 
this letter in your hand for consultation, to drive 
straight to my house. Poole, my butler, has his 
orders ; you will find him waiting your arrival with 
a locksmith. The door of my cabinet is then to be 
forced ; and you are to go in alone ; to open the 
glazed press (letter E) on the left hand, breaking the 
lock if it be shut ; and to draw out, with all its con- 
tents as they stand, the fourth drawer from the top 
or (which is the same thing) the third from the 
bottom. In my extreme distress of mind I have a 
morbid fear of misdirecting you ; but even if I am 
in error, you may know the right drawer by its con- 
tents : some powders, a phial, and a paper book. 
This drawer I beg of you to carry back with you to 
Cavendish Square exactly as it stands. 

' That is the first part of the service : now for the 
second. You should be back, if you set out at once 
on the receipt of this, long before midnight ; but I 
will leave you that amount of margin, not only in 
the fear of one of those obstacles that can neither 
be prevented nor foreseen, but because an hour 
when your servants are in bed is to be preferred for 
what will then remain to do. At midnight, then, I 
have to ask you to be alone in your consulting- 
68 



DR. LANYON'S NARRATIVE 

room, to admit with your own hand into the house 
a man who will present himself in my name, and to 
place in his hands the drawer that you will have 
brought with you from my cabinet. Then you will 
have played your part and earned my gratitude 
completely. Five minutes, afterwards, if you insist 
upon an explanation, you will have understood that 
these arrangements are of capital importance ; and that 
by the neglect of one of them, fantastic as they must 
appear, you might have charged your conscience with 
my death or the shipwreck of my reason. 

' Confident as I am that you will not trifle with 
this appeal, my heart sinks and my hand trembles at 
the bare thought of such a possibility. Think of me 
at this hour, in a strange place, labouring under a 
blackness of distress that no fancy can exaggerate, 
and yet well aware that, if you will but punctually 
serve me, my troubles will roll away like a story 
that is told. Serve me, my dear Lanyon, and save 

' Your friend, 

< H. J. 

' P.S. — I had already sealed this up when a fresh 
terror struck upon my soul. It is possible that the 
post office may fail me, and this letter not come into 
your hands until to-morrow morning. In that case, 
dear Lanyon, do my errand when it shall be most 
convenient for you in the course of the day; and 
once more expect my messenger at midnight. It 
may then already be too late ; and if that night 
passes without event, you will know that you have 
seen the last of Henry Jekyll.' 

69 



DR. JEKYLL AND MR. HYDE 

Upon the reading of this letter I made sure my 
colleague was insane ; but till that was proved 
beyond the possibility of doubt, I felt bound to do 
as he requested. The less I understood of this 
farrago, the less I was in a position to judge of its 
importance ; and an appeal so worded could not be 
set aside without a grave responsibility. I rose 
accordingly from table, got into a hansom, and 
drove straight to Jekyll's house. The butler was 
awaiting my arrival ; he had received by the same 
post as mine a registered letter of instruction, and 
had sent at once for a locksmith and a carpenter. 
The tradesmen came while we were yet speaking ; 
and we moved in a body to old Dr. Denman's 
surgical theatre, from which (as you are doubtless 
aware) Jekyll's private cabinet is most conveniently 
entered. The door was very strong, the lock ex- 
cellent ; the carpenter avowed he would have great 
trouble and have to do much damage, if force were 
to ,be used ; and the locksmith was near despair. 
But this last was a handy fellow, and after two 
hours' work the door stood open. The press marked 
E was unlocked ; and I took out the drawer, had it 
filled up with straw and tied in a sheet, and re- 
turned with it to Cavendish Square. 

Here I proceeded to examine its contents. The 
powders were neatly enough made up, but not with 
the nicety of the dispensing chemist ; so that it was 
plain they were of Jekyll's private manufacture ; and 
when I opened one of the wrappers, I found what 
seemed to me a simple, crystalline salt of a white 
70 



DR. LANYON'S NARRATIVE 

colour. The phial, to which I next turned my 
attention, might have been about half-full of a 
blood-red liquor, which was highly pungent to the 
sense of smell and seemed to me to contain phos- 
phorus and some volatile ether. At the other 
ingredients I could make no guess. The book was 
an ordinary version-book, and contained little but a 
series of dates. These covered a period of many 
years, but I observed that the entries ceased nearly 
a year ago, and quite abruptly. Here and there a 
brief remark was appended to a date, usually no 
more than a single word : ' double ' occurring perhaps 
six times in a total of several hundred entries ; and 
once very early in the list, and followed by several 
marks of exclamation, ' total failure ! ! ! ' All this, 
though it whetted my curiosity, told me little that 
was definite. Here was a phial of some tincture, a 
paper of some salt, and a record of a series of experi- 
ments that had led (like too many of Jekyll's 
investigations) to no end of practical usefulness. 
How could the presence of these articles in my 
house affect either the honour, the sanity, or the life 
of my flighty colleague ? If his messenger could go 
to one place, why could he not go to another ? And 
even granting some impediment, why was this 
gentleman to be received by me in secret ? The 
more I reflected, the more convinced I grew that I 
was dealing with a case of cerebral disease ; and 
though I dismissed my servants to bed, I loaded an 
old revolver that I might be found in some posture 
of self-defence. 

7i 



DR. JEKYLL AND MR. HYDE 

Twelve o'clock had scarce rung out over London, 
ere the knocker sounded very gently on the door. I 
went myself at the summons, and found a small man 
crouching against the pillars of the portico. 

' Are you come from Dr. Jekyll ? ' I asked. 

He told me ' yes ' by a constrained gesture ; and 
when I had bidden him enter, he did not obey me 
without a searching backward glance into the dark- 
ness of the square. There was a policeman not far 
off, advancing with his bull's-eye open ; and at the 
sight I thought my visitor started and made greater 
haste. 

These particulars struck me, I confess, disagree- 
ably ; and as I followed him into the bright light of 
the consulting-room I kept my hand ready on my 
weapon. Here, at last, I had a chance of clearly 
seeing him. I had never set eyes on him before, so 
much was certain. He was small, as I have said ; 
I was struck besides with the shocking expression 
of his face, with his remarkable combination of great 
muscular activity and great apparent debility of con- 
stitution, and — last but not least — with the odd, 
subjective disturbance caused by his neighbourhood. 
This bore some resemblance to incipient rigor, and 
was accompanied by a marked sinking of the pulse. 
At the time, I set it down to some idiosyncratic, 
personal distaste, and merely wondered at the acute- 
ness of the symptoms ; but I have since had reason 
to believe the cause to lie much deeper in the nature 
of man, and to turn on some nobler hinge than the 
principle of hatred. 
72 



DR. LANYON'S NARRATIVE 

Tliis person (who had thus from the first moment 
of his entrance, struck in me what I can only describe 
as a disgustful curiosity) was dressed in a fashion 
that would have made an ordinary person laughable : 
his clothes, that is to say, although they were of 
rich and sober fabric, were enormously too large for 
him in every measurement — the trousers hanging on 
his legs and rolled up to keep them from the ground, 
the waist of the coat below his haunches, and the 
collar sprawling wide upon his shoulders. Strange 
to relate, this ludicrous accoutrement was far from 
moving me to laughter. Rather, as there was some- 
thing abnormal and misbegotten in the very essence 
of the creature that now faced me — something seizing, 
surprising, and revolting— this fresh disparity seemed 
but to fit in with and to reinforce it ; so that to my 
interest in the man's nature and character there was 
added a curiosity as to his origin, his life, his fortune 
and status in the world. 

These observations, though they have taken so 
great a space to be set down in, were yet the work 
of a few seconds. My visitor was, indeed, on fire 
with sombre excitement. 

' Have you got it ? ' he cried. ' Have you got 
it ? ' And so lively was his impatience that he even 
laid his hand upon my arm and sought to shake me. 

I put him back, conscious at his touch of a certain 
icy pang along my blood. ' Come, sir/ said I. 'You 
forget that I have not yet the pleasure of your 
acquaintance. Be seated, if you please.' And I 
showed him an example, and sat down myself in 



DR. JEKYLL AND Mil. HYDE 

my customary seat and with as fair an imitation 
of my ordinary manner to a patient, as the lateness 
of the hour, the nature of my pre-occupations, and 
the horror I had of my visitor, would suffer me to 
muster. 

' I beg your pardon, Dr. Lanyon,' he replied civilly 
enough. ' What you say is very well founded ; and 
my impatience has shown its heels to my politeness. 
I come here at the instance of your colleague, Dr. 
Henry Jekyll, on a piece of business of some 
moment ; and I understood . . .'he paused and 
put his hand to his throat, and I could see, in spite 
of his collected manner, that he was wrestling against 
the approaches of the hysteria — ' I understood, a 
drawer . . .' 

But here I took pity on my visitor's suspense, and 
some perhaps on my own growing curiosity. 

' There it is, sir,' said I, pointing to the drawer, 
where it lay on the floor behind a table and still 
covered with the sheet. 

He sprang to it, and then paused, and laid his 
hand upon his heart ; I could hear his teeth grate 
with the convulsive action of his jaws ; and his face 
was so ghastly to see that I grew alarmed both for 
his life and reason. 

' Compose yourself,' said I. 

He turned a dreadful smile to me, and as if with 
the decision of despair, plucked away the sheet. At 
sight of the contents he uttered one loud sob of 
such immense relief that I sat petrified. And the 
next moment, in a voice that was already fairly well 
74 



DR. LANYON'S NARRATIVE 

under control, ' Have you a graduated glass ? ' he 
asked. 

I rose from my place with something of an effort 
and gave him what he asked. 

He thanked me with a smiling nod, measured out 
a few minims of the red tincture and added one of 
the powders. The mixture, which was at first of a 
reddish hue, began, in proportion as the crystals 
melted, to brighten in colour, to effervesce audibly, 
and to throw off small fumes of vapour. Suddenly 
and at the same moment, the ebullition ceased and 
the compound changed to a dark purple, which faded 
again more slowly to a watery green. My visitor, who 
had watched these metamorphoses with a keen eye, 
smiled, set down the glass upon the table, and then 
turned and looked upon me with an air of scrutiny. 

'And now,' said he, 'to settle what remains. Will 
you be wise ? will you be guided ? will you suffer 
me to take this glass in my hand and to go forth 
from your house without further parley ? or has the 
greed of curiosity too much command of you ? Think 
before you answer, for it shall be done as you decide. 
As you decide, you shall be left as you were before, 
and neither richer nor wiser, unless the sense of 
service rendered to a man in mortal distress may be 
counted as a kind of riches of the soul. Or, if you 
shall so prefer to choose, a new province of know- 
ledge and new avenues to fame and power shall be 
laid open to you, here, in this room, upon the in- 
stant ; and your sight shall be blasted by a prodigy 



to stagger the unbelief of Satan.' 



75 



DR. JEKYLL AND MR. HYDE 

' Sir,' said I, affecting a coolness that I was far 
from truly possessing, ' you speak enigmas, and you 
will perhaps not wonder that I hear you with no 
very strong impression of belief. But I have gone 
too far in the way of inexplicable services to pause 
before I see the end.' 

' It is well,' replied my visitor. ' Lanyon, you 
remember your vows : what follows is under the seal 
of our profession. And now, you who have so long 
been bound to the most narrow and material views, 
you who have denied the virtue of transcendental 
medicine, you Avho have derided your superiors — 
behold ! ' 

He put the glass to his lips and drank at one gulp. 
A cry followed ; he reeled, staggered, clutched at 
the table and held on, staring with injected eyes, 
gasping with open mouth ; and as I looked there 
came, I thought, a change — he seemed to swell — his 
face became suddenly black and the features seemed 
to melt and alter — and the next moment, I had 
sprung to my feet and leaped back against the wall, 
my arm raised to shield me from that prodigy, my 
mind submerged in terror. 

' O God ! ' I screamed, and ' O God ! ' again and 
again ; for there before my eyes — pale and shaken 
and half-fainting, and groping before him with his 
hands, like a man restored from death — there stood 
Henry Jekyll ! 

What he told me in the next hour I cannot bring 
my mind to set on paper. I saw what I saw, I 
heard what I heard, and my soul sickened at it ; 
76 



DR. LANYON'S NARRATIVE 

and yet now when that sight has faded from my 
eyes, I ask myself if I believe it, and I cannot 
answer. My life is shaken to its roots ; sleep has 
left me ; the deadliest terror sits by me at all hours 
of the day and night ; I feel that my days are 
numbered, and that I must die ; and yet I shall 
die incredulous. As for the moral turpitude that 
man unveiled to me, even with tears of penitence, I 
cannot, even in memory, dwell on it without a start 
of horror. I will say but one thing, Utterson, and 
that (if you can bring your mind to credit it) will be 
more than enough. The creature who crept into my 
house that night was, on .Tekyll's own confession, 
known by the name of Hyde, and hunted for in 
every corner of the land as the murderer of Carew. 

Hastie Lanyon. 



HENRY JEKYLLS FULL STATEMENT 
OF THE CASE 

I was born in the year 18 — to a large fortune, en- 
dowed besides with excellent parts, inclined by nature 
to industry, fond of the respect of the wise and good 
among my felloAv-men, and thus, as might have been 
supposed, with every guarantee of an honourable and 
distinguished future. And indeed the worst of my 
faults was a certain impatient gaiety of disposition, 
such as has made the happiness of many, but such as 
I found it hard to reconcile with my imperious desire 
to carry my head high, and wear a more than com- 

77 



DR. JEKYLL AND MR. HYDE 

monly grave countenance before the public. Hence 
it came about that I concealed my pleasures ; and 
that when I reached years of reflection, and began 
to look round me and take stock of my progress and 
position in the world. I stood already committed to 
a profound duplicity of life. Many a man would 
have even blazoned such irregularities as I was 
guilty of; but from the high views that I had set 
before me, I regarded and hid them with an almost 
morbid sense of shame. It was thus rather the 
exacting nature of my aspirations than any parti- 
cular degradation in mv faults, that made me what 
I was and, with even a deeper trench than in the 
majority of men, severed in me those provinces of 
good and ill which divide and compound man's dual 
nature. In this case, I was driven to reflect deeply 
and inveterately on that hard law of life, which lies 
at the root of religion and is one of the most plentiful 
springs of distress. Though so profound a double- 
dealer, I was in no sense a hypocrite : both sides of 
me were in dead earnest : I was no more myself 
when I laid aside restraint and plunged in shame, 
than when I laboured, in the eye of day, at the 
furtherance of knowledge or the relief of sorrow and 
suffering. And it chanced that the direction of mv 
scientific studies, which led wholly towards the mystic 
and the transcendental, reacted and shed a strong 
light on this consciousness of the perennial war 
among mv members. With everv day, and from 
both sides of my intelligence, the moral and the in- 
tellectual. I thus drew steadilv nearer to that truth, 
78 



JEKYLL'S FULL STATEMENT 

by whose partial discovery I have been doomed to 
such a dreadful shipwreck : that man is not truly 
one, but truly two. I say two, because the state of 
my own knowledge does not pass beyond that point. 
Others will follow, others will outstrip me on the 
same lines ; and I hazard the guess that man will 
be ultimately known for a mere polity of multifarious, 
incongruous, and independent denizens. I for my 
part, from the nature of my life, advanced infallibly 
in one direction, and in one direction only. It was 
on the moral side, and in my own person, that I 
learned to recognise the thorough and primitive 
duality of man ; I saw that of the two natures that 
contended in the field of my consciousness, even if 
I could rightly be said to be either, it was only 
because I was radically both ; and from an early 
date, even before the course of my scientific dis- 
coveries had begun to suggest the most naked pos- 
sibility of such a miracle, I had learned to dwell 
with pleasure, as a beloved day-dream, on the thought 
of the separation of these elements. If each, I told 
myself, could but be housed in separate identities, 
life would be relieved of all that was unbearable ; the 
unjust might go his way, delivered from the aspira- 
tions and remorse of his more upright twin ; and the 
just could walk steadfastly and securely on his up- 
ward path, doing the good things in which he found 
his pleasure, and no longer exposed to disgrace and 
penitence by the hands of this extraneous evil. It 
was the curse of mankind that these incongruous 
fagots were thus bound together — that in the 

79 



DR. JEKYLL AND MR. HYDE 

agonised womb of consciousness these polar twins 
should be continuously struggling. How, then, 
were they dissociated ? 

I was so far in my reflections when, as I have 
said, a side-light began to shine upon the subject 
from the laboratory table. I began to perceive more 
deeply than it has ever yet been stated, the trembling 
immateriality, the mist-like transience, of this seem- 
ingly so solid body in which we walk attired. Certain 
agents I found to have the power to shake and to 
pluck back that fleshly vestment, even as a wind 
might toss the curtains of a pavilion. For two good 
reasons, I will not enter deeply into this scientific 
branch of my confession. First, because I have been 
made to learn that the doom and burthen of our life 
is bound for ever on man's shoulders, and when the 
attempt is made to cast it off, it but returns upon 
us with more unfamiliar and more awful pressure. 
Second, because as my narrative will make, alas ! too 
evident, my discoveries were incomplete. Enough, 
then, that I not only recognised my natural body for 
the mere aura and effulgence of certain of the powers 
that made up my spirit, but managed to compound 
a drug by which these powers should be dethroned 
from their supremacy, and a second form and coun- 
tenance substituted, none the less natural to me 
because they were the expression, and bore the stamp, 
of lower elements in my soul. 

I hesitated long before I put this theory to the 
test of practice. I knew well that I risked death ; 
for any drug that so potently controlled and shook 
80 



JEKYLL'S FULL STATEMENT 

the very fortress of identity, might by the least 
scruple of an overdose or at the least inopportunity 
in the moment of exhibition, utterly blot out that 
immaterial tabernacle which I looked to it to change. 
But the temptation of a discovery so singular and 
profound at last overcame the suggestions of alarm. 
I had long since prepared my tincture ; I purchased 
at once, from a firm of wholesale chemists, a large 
quantity of a particular salt which I knew, from my 
experiments, to be the last ingredient required ; and 
late one accursed night, I compounded the elements, 
watched them boil and smoke together in the glass, 
and when the ebullition had subsided, with a strong 
glow of courage drank off the potion. 

The most racking pangs succeeded ; a grinding in 
the bones, deadly nausea, and a horror of the spirit 
that cannot be exceeded at the hour of birth or 
death. Then these agonies began swiftly to subside, 
and I came to myself as if out of a great sickness. 
There was something strange in my sensations, some- 
thing indescribably new and, from its very novelty, 
incredibly sweet. I felt younger, lighter, happier in 
body ; within I was conscious of a heady reckless- 
ness, a current of disordered sensual images running 
like a mill-race in my fancy, a solution of the bonds 
of obligation, an unknown but not an innocent 
freedom of the soul. I knew myself, at the first 
breath of this new life, to be more wicked, tenfold 
more wicked, sold a slave to my original evil ; and 
the thought, in that moment, braced and delighted 
me like wine. I stretched out my hands, exulting 
8— f 8 1 



£3£5S 



DR. JEKYLL AND MR. HYDE 

in the freshness of these sensations ; and in the act 
I was suddenly aware that I had lost in stature. 

There was no mirror, at that date, in my room ; 
that which stands beside me as I write was brought 
there later on, and for the very purpose of these 
transformations. The night, however, was far gone 
into the morning— the morning, black as it was, was 
nearly ripe for the conception of the day — the in- 
mates of my house were locked in the most rigorous 
hours of slumber ; and I determined, flushed as I 
was with hope and triumph, to venture in my new 
shape as far as to my bedroom. I crossed the yard, 
wherein the constellations looked down upon me, I 
could have thought, with wonder, the first creature 
of that sort that their unsleeping vigilance had yet 
disclosed to them ; I stole through the corridors, 
a stranger in my own house ; and, coming to my 
room, I saw for the first time the appearance of 
Edward Hyde. 

I must here speak by theory alone, saying not that 
which I know, but that which I suppose to be most 
probable. The evil side of my nature, to which I 
had now transferred the stamping efficacy, was less 
robust and less developed than the good which I had 
just deposed. Again, in the course of my life, which 
had been, after all, nine-tenths a life of effort, virtue, 
and control, it had been much less exercised and 
much less exhausted. And hence, as I think, it 
came about that Edward Hyde was so much smaller, 
slighter, and younger than Henry Jekyll. Even as 
good shone upon the countenance of the one, evil 
82 



JEKYLL'S FULL STATEMENT 

was written broadly and plainly on the face of the 
other. Evil besides (which I must still believe to be 
the lethal side of man) had left on that body an 
imprint of deformity and decay. And yet when I 
looked upon that ugly idol in the glass, I was con- 
scious of no repugnance, rather of a leap of welcome. 
This, too, was myself. It seemed natural and 
human. In my eyes it bore a livelier image of the 
spirit, it seemed more express and single, than the 
imperfect and divided countenance I had been 
hitherto accustomed to call mine. And in so far I 
was doubtless right. I have observed that when I 
wore the semblance of Edward Hyde, none could 
come near to me at first without a visible misgiving 
of the flesh. This, as I take it, was because all 
human beings, as we meet them, are commingled 
out of good and evil : and Edward Hyde, alone in 
the ranks of mankind, was pure evil. 

I lingered but a moment at the mirror : the second 
and conclusive experiment had yet to be attempted ; 
it yet remained to be seen if I had lost my identity 
beyond redemption and must flee before daylight 
from a house that was no longer mine ; and, hurrying 
back to my cabinet, I once more prepared and drank 
the cup, once more suffered the pangs of dissolution, 
and came to myself once more with the character, 
the stature, and the face of Henry Jekyll. 

That night I had come to the fatal cross roads. 
Had I approached my discovery in a more noble 
spirit, had I risked the experiment while under the 
empire of generous or pious aspirations, all must 



DR. JEKYLL AND MR. HYDE 

have been otherwise, and from these agonies of death 
and birth I had come forth an angel instead of a 
fiend. The drug had no discriminating action ; it 
was neither diabolical nor divine ; it but shook the 
doors of the prison-house of my disposition ; and, 
like the captives of Philippi, that which stood within 
ran forth. At that time my virtue slumbered ; my 
evil, kept awake by ambition, was alert and swift to 
seize the occasion ; and the thing that was projected 
was Edward Hyde. Hence, although I had now 
two characters as well as two appearances, one was 
wholly evil, and the other was still the old Henry 
Jekyll, that incongruous compound of whose re- 
formation and improvement I had already learned to 
despair. The movement was thus wholly toward 
the worse. 

Even at that time I had not yet conquered my 
aversion to the dryness of a life of study. I would 
still be merrily disposed at times ; and as my plea- 
sures were (to say the least) undignified, and I was 
not only well known and highly considered, but 
growing towards the elderly man, this incoherency 
of my life was daily growing more unwelcome. It 
was on this side that my new power tempted me 
until I fell in slavery. I had but to drink the cup, 
to doff at once the body of the noted professor, and 
to assume, like a thick cloak, that of Edward Hyde. 
I smiled at the notion ; it seemed to me at the time 
to be humorous ; and I made my preparations with 
the most studious care. I took and furnished that 
house in Soho, to which Hyde was tracked by the 
84 



JEKYLL'S FULL STATEMENT 

police ; and engaged as housekeeper a creature whom 
I well knew to be silent and unscrupulous. On the 
other side, I announced to my servants that a Mr. 
Hyde (whom I described) was to have full liberty 
and power about my house in the square ; and to 
parry mishaps, I even called and made myself a 
familiar object, in my second character. I next 
drew up that will to which you so much objected ; 
so that if anything befell me in the person of Doctor 
.Tekyll, I could enter on that of Edward Hyde with- 
out pecuniary loss. And thus fortified, as I sup- 
posed, on every side, I began to profit by the strange 
immunities of my position. 

Men have before hired bravos to transact their 
crimes, while their own person and reputation sat 
under shelter. I was the first that ever did so for 
his pleasures. I was the first that could thus plod 
in the public eye with a load of genial respectability, 
and in a moment, like a schoolboy, strip off these 
lendings and spring headlong into the sea of liberty. 
But for me, in my impenetrable mantle, the safety 
was complete. Think of it — I did not even exist ! 
Let me but escape into my laboratory-door, give me 
but a second or two to mix and swallow the draught 
that I had always standing ready ; and whatever he 
had done, Edward Hyde would pass away like the 
stain of breath upon a mirror ; and there in his stead, 
quietly at home, trimming the midnight lamp in his 
study, a man who could afford to laugh at suspicion, 
would be Henry Jekyll. 

The pleasures which I made haste to seek in my 

85 



DR. JEKYLL AND MR. HYDE 

disguise were, as I have said, undignified ; I would 
scarce use a harder term. But in the hands of 
Edward Hyde they soon began to turn towards the 
monstrous. When I would come back from these 
excursions, I was often plunged into a kind of wonder 
at my vicarious depravity. This familiar that I called 
out of my own soul, and sent forth alone to do his 
good pleasure, was a being inherently malign and 
villainous ; his every act and thought centred on 
self; drinking pleasure with bestial avidity from any 
degree of torture to another ; relentless like a man 
of stone. Henry Jekyll stood at times aghast before 
the acts of Edward Hyde ; but the situation was 
apart from ordinary laws, and insidiously relaxed the 
grasp of conscience. It was Hyde, after all, and 
Hyde alone, that was guilty. Jekyll was no worse ; 
he woke again to his good qualities seemingly un- 
impaired ; he would even make haste, where it was 
possible, to undo the evil done by Hyde. And thus 
his conscience slumbered. 

Into the details of the infamy at which I thus 
connived (for even now I can scarce grant that I 
committed it) I have no design of entering ; I mean 
but to point out the warnings and the successive 
steps with which my chastisement approached. I 
met with one accident which, as it brought on no 
consequence, I shall no more than mention. An act 
of cruelty to a child aroused against me the anger of 
a passer-by, whom I recognised the other day in the 
person of your kinsman ; the doctor and the child's 
family joined him ; there were moments when I 
86 



JEKYLLS FULL STATEMENT 

feared for my life ; and at last, in order to pacify 
their too just resentment, Edward Hyde had to 
bring them to the door, and pay them in a cheque 
drawn in the name of Henry Jekyll. But this 
danger was easily eliminated from the future, by 
opening an account at another bank in the name of 
Edward Hyde himself; and when, by sloping my 
own hand backward, I had supplied my double with 
a signature, I thought I sat beyond the reach of 
fate. 

Some two months before the murder of Sir 
Danvers, I had been out for one of my adventures, 
had returned at a late hour, and woke the next day 
in bed with somewhat odd sensations. It was in 
vain I looked about me ; in vain I saw the decent 
furniture and tall proportions of my room in the 
square ; in vain that I recognised the pattern of the 
bed-curtains and the design of the mahogany frame ; 
something still kept insisting that I was not where I 
was, that I had not wakened where I seemed to be, 
but in the little room in Soho where I was accus- 
tomed to sleep in the body of Edward Hyde. I 
smiled to myself, and, in my psychological way, 
began lazily to inquire into the elements of this 
illusion, occasionally, even as I did so, dropping back 
into a comfortable morning doze. I was still so 
engaged when, in one of my more wakeful moments, 
my eye fell upon my hand. Now the hand of Henry 
Jekyll (as you have often remarked) was professional 
in shape and size : it was large, firm, white, and 
comely. But the hand which I now saw, clearly 

8? 



DR. JEKYLL AND MR. HYDE 

enough, in the yellow light of a mid-London morn- 
ing, lying half shut on the bed-clothes, was lean, 
corded, knuckly, of a dusky pallor, and thickly shaded 
with a swart growth of hair. It was the hand of 
Edward Hyde. 

I must have stared upon it for near half a minute, 
sunk as I was in the mere stupidity of wonder, 
before terror woke up in my breast as sudden and 
startling as the crash of cymbals ; and bounding 
from my bed, I rushed to the mirror. At the sight 
that met my eyes my blood was changed into some- 
thing exquisitely thin and icy. Yes, I had gone to 
bed Henry Jekyll, I had awakened Edward Hyde. 
How was this to be explained 1 ? I asked myself; and 
then, with another bound of terror — how was it to 
be remedied ? It was well on in the morning ; the 
servants were up ; all my drugs were in the cabinet 
— a long journey, down two pairs of stairs, through 
the back passage, across the open court and through 
the anatomical theatre, from where I was then 
standing horror-struck. It might indeed be possible 
to cover my face ; but of what use was that, when I 
was unable to conceal the alteration in my stature ? 
And then with an overpowering sweetness of relief, 
it came back upon my mind that the servants were 
already used to the coming and going of my second 
self. I had soon dressed, as well as I was able, in 
clothes of my own size : had soon passed through 
the house, where Bradshaw stared and drew back at 
seeing Mr. Hyde at such an hour and in such a 
strange array ; and ten minutes later Dr. Jekyll had 



JEKYLL'S FULL STATEMENT 

returned to his own shape, and was sitting down, 
with a darkened brow, to make a feint of break- 
fasting. 

Small indeed was my appetite. This inexplicable 
incident, this reversal of my previous experience, 
seemed, like the Babylonian ringer on the wall, to be 
spelling out the letters of my judgment ; and I 
began to reflect more seriously than ever before on 
the issues and possibilities of my double existence. 
That part of me which I had the power of projecting 
had lately been much exercised and nourished ; it 
had seemed to me of late as though the body of 
Edward Hyde had grown in stature, as though 
(when I wore that form) I were conscious of a more 
generous tide of blood ; and I began to spy a danger 
that, if this were much prolonged, the balance of my 
nature might be permanently overthrown, the power 
of voluntary change be forfeited, and the character 
of Edward Hyde become irrevocably mine. The 
power of the drug had not been always equally dis- 
played. Once, very early in my career, it had 
totally failed me ; since then I had been obliged on 
more than one occasion to double, and once, with 
infinite risk of death, to treble the amount ; and 
these rare uncertainties had cast hitherto the sole 
shadow on my contentment. Now, however, and in 
the light of that morning's accident, I was led to 
remark that whereas, in the beginning, the difficulty 
had been to throw off the body of Jekyll, it had of 
late, gradually but decidedly transferred itself to the 
other side. All things therefore seemed to point to 

89 



DR. JEKYLL AND MR. HYDE 

this : that I was slowly losing hold of my original 
and better self, and becoming slowly incorporated 
with my second and worse. 

Between these two, I now felt I had to choose. 
My two natures had memory in common, but all 
other faculties were most unequally shared between 
them. Jekyll (who was composite) now with the 
most sensitive apprehensions, now with a greedy 
gusto, projected and shared in the pleasures and 
adventures of Hyde ; but Hyde was indifferent to 
Jekyll, or but remembered him as the mountain 
bandit remembers the cavern in which he conceals 
himself from pursuit. Jekyll had more than a 
father's interest ; Hyde had more than a son's indif- 
ference. To cast in my lot with Jekyll was to die 
to those appetites which I had long secretly indulged, 
and had of late begun to pamper. To cast it in with 
Hyde was to die to a thousand interests and aspira- 
tions, and to become, at a blow and for ever, despised 
and friendless. The bargain might appear unequal ; 
but there was still another consideration in the 
scales ; for while Jekyll would suffer smartingly in 
the fires of abstinence, Hyde would be not even 
conscious of all that he had lost. Strange as my 
circumstances were, the terms of this debate are as 
old and commonplace as man ; much the same in- 
ducements and alarms cast the die for any tempted 
and trembling sinner ; and it fell out with me, as it 
falls with so vast a majority of my fellows, that I 
chose the better part, and was found wanting in the 
strength to keep to it. 
90 



JEKYLL'S FULL STATEMENT 

Yes, I preferred the elderly and discontented 
doctor, surrounded by friends and cherishing honest 
hopes ; and bade a resolute farewell to the liberty, 
the comparative youth, the light step, leaping pulses, 
and secret pleasures, that I had enjoyed in the dis- 
guise of Hyde. I made this choice perhaps with 
some unconscious reservation, for I neither gave up 
the house in Soho, nor destroyed the clothes of 
Edward Hyde, which still lay ready in my cabinet. 
For two months, however, I was true to my deter- 
mination ; for two months I led a life of such 
severity as I had never before attained to, and 
enjoyed the compensations of an approving con- 
science. But time began at last to obliterate the 
freshness of my alarm ; the praises of conscience 
began to grow into a thing of course ; I began to be 
tortured with throes and longings, as of Hyde strug- 
gling after freedom ; and at last, in an hour of moral 
weakness, I once again compounded and swallowed 
the transforming draught. 

I do not suppose that, when a drunkard reasons 
with himself upon his vice, he is once out of five 
hundred times affected by the dangers that he runs 
through his brutish, physical insensibility ; neither 
had I, long as I had considered my position, made 
enough allowance for the complete moral insensi- 
bility and insensate readiness to evil, which were the 
leading characters of Edward Hyde. Yet it was by 
these that I was punished. My devil had been long 
caged, he came out roaring. I was conscious, even 
when I took the draught, of a more unbridled, a 

9i 



DR. JEKYLL AND MR. HYDE 

more furious propensity to ill. It must have been 
this, I suppose, that stirred in my soul that tempest 
of impatience with which I listened to the civilities 
of my unhappy victim ; I declare at least, before 
God, no man morally sane could have been guilty of 
that crime upon so pitiful a provocation ; and that 
I struck in no more reasonable spirit than that in 
which a sick child may break a plaything. But I 
had voluntarily stripped myself of all those balancing 
instincts, by which even the worst of us continues to 
walk with some degree of steadiness among tempta- 
tions ; and in my case, to be tempted, however 
slightly, was to fall. 

Instantly the spirit of hell awoke in me and raged. 
With a transport of glee 1 mauled the unresisting 
body, tasting delight from every blow ; and it was 
not till weariness had begun to succeed, that I was 
suddenly, in the top fit of my delirium, struck 
through the heart by a cold thrill of terror. A mist 
dispersed ; I saw my life to be forfeit ; and fled from 
the scene of these excesses, at once glorying and 
trembling, my lust of evil gratified and stimulated, 
my love of life screwed to the topmost peg. I ran 
to the house in Soho, and (to make assurance doubly 
sure) destroyed my papers ; thence I set out through 
the lamplit streets, in the same divided ecstasy of 
mind, gloating on my crime, light-headedly devising 
others in the future, and yet still hastening and still 
hearkening in my wake for the steps of the avenger. 
Hyde had a song upon his lips as he compounded 
the draught, and as he drank it, pledged the dead 
92 



JEKYLIAS FULL STATEMENT 

man. The pangs of transformation had not done 
tearing him, before Henry Jekyll, with streaming 
tears of gratitude and remorse, had fallen upon his 
knees and lifted his clasped hands to God. The veil 
of self-indulgence was rent from head to foot, I saw 
my life as a whole : I followed it up from the days 
of childhood, when I had walked with my father's 
hand, and through the self-denying toils of my pro- 
fessional life, to arrive again and again, with the 
same sense of unreality, at the damned horrors of the 
evening. I could have screamed aloud ; I sought 
with tears and prayers to smother down the crowd of 
hideous images and sounds with which my memory 
swarmed against me ; and still, between the petitions, 
the ugly face of my iniquity stared into my soul. 
As the acuteness of this remorse began to die away, 
it was succeeded by a sense of joy. The problem of 
my conduct was solved. Hyde was thenceforth 
impossible ; whether I would or not, I was now 
confined to the better part of my existence ; and 
oh, how I rejoiced to think it ! with what willing 
humility I embraced anew the restrictions of natural 
life ! with what sincere renunciation I locked the 
door by which I had so often gone and come, and 
ground the key under my heel ! 

The next day came the news that the murder 
had been overlooked, that the guilt of Hyde was 
patent to the world, and that the victim was a man 
high in public estimation. It was not only a crime, 
it had been a tragic folly. I think I was glad to 
know it; I think I was glad to have my better 

93 



DR. JEKYLL AND MR. HYDE 

impulses thus buttressed and guarded by the terrors 
of the scaffold. Jekyll was now my city of refuge ; 
let but Hyde peep out an instant, and the hands of 
all men would be raised to take and slay him. 

I resolved in my future conduct to redeem the 
past; and I can say with honesty that my resolve 
was fruitful of some good. You know yourself how 
earnestly in the last months of last year, I laboured 
to relieve suffering ; you know that much was done 
for others, and that the days passed quietly, almost 
happily for myself. Nor can I truly say that I 
wearied of this beneficent and innocent life ; I think 
instead that I daily enjoyed it more completely ; 
but I was still cursed with my duality of purpose ; 
and as the first edge of my penitence wore off, the 
lower side of me, so long indulged, so recently 
chained down, began to growl for licence. Not that 
I dreamed of resuscitating Hyde ; the bare idea of 
that would startle me to frenzy : no, it was in my 
own person that I was once more tempted to trifle 
with my conscience ; and it was as an ordinary 
secret sinner that I at last fell before the assaults of 
temptation. 

There comes an end to all things ; the most 
capacious measure is filled at last ; and this brief 
condescension to evil finally destroyed the balance 
of my soul. And yet I was not alarmed ; the fall 
seemed natural, like a return to the old days before 
I had made my discovery. It was a fine, clear, 
January day, wet under foot where the frost had 
melted, but cloudless overhead ; and the Regents 

94 



JEKYLLS FULL STATEMENT 

Park was full of winter chirrupings and sweet with 
spring odours. I sat in the sun on a bench ; the 
animal within me licking the chops of memory ; the 
spiritual side a little drowsed, promising subsequent 
penitence, but not yet moved to begin. After all, 
I reflected, I was like my neighbours : and then I 
smiled, comparing myself with other men, comparing 
my active goodwill with the lazy cruelty of their 
neglect. And at the very moment of that vain- 
glorious thought a qualm came over me, a horrid 
nausea and the most deadly shuddering. These 
passed away, and left me faint ; and then, as in its 
turn the faintness subsided, I began to be aware of 
a change in the temper of my thoughts, a greater 
boldness, a contempt of danger, a solution of the 
bonds of obligation. I looked down ; my clothes 
hung formlessly on my shrunken limbs ; the hand 
that lay on my knee was corded and hairy. I was 
once more Edward Hyde. A moment before I had 
been safe of all men's respect, wealthy, beloved — 
the cloth laying for me in the dining-room at home ; 
and now I was the common quarry of mankind, 
hunted, houseless, a known murderer, thrall to the 
gallows. 

My reason wavered, but it did not fail me utterly. 
I have more than once observed that, in my second 
character, my faculties seemed sharpened to a point 
and my spirits more tensely elastic ; thus it came 
about that, where Jekyll perhaps might have suc- 
cumbed, Hyde rose to the importance of the moment. 
My drugs were in one of the presses of my cabinet ; 

95 



DR. JEKYLL AND MR. HYDE 

how was I to reach them ? That was the problem 
that (crushing my temples in my hands) I set myself 
to solve. The laboratory door I had closed. If I 
sought to enter by the house, my own servants 
would consign me to the gallows. I saw I must 
employ another hand, and thought of Lanyon. How 
was he to be reached ? how persuaded ? Supposing 
that I escaped capture in the streets, how was I to 
make my way into his presence ? and how should I, 
an unknown and displeasing visitor, prevail on the 
famous physician to rifle the study of his colleague, 
Dr. Jekyll ? Then I remembered that of my original 
character, one part remained to me : I could write 
my own hand ; and once I had conceived that 
kindling spark, the way that I must follow became 
lighted up from end to end. 

Thereupon I arranged my clothes as best I could, 
and summoning a passing hansom, drove to a hotel 
in Portland Street, the name of which I chanced to 
remember. At my appearance (which was indeed 
comical enough, however tragic a fate these garments 
covered) the driver could not conceal his mirth. I 
gnashed my teeth upon him with a gust of devilish 
fury ; and the smile withered from his face — happily 
for him — yet more happily for myself, for in another 
instant I had certainly dragged him from his perch. 
At the inn, as I entered, I looked about me with so 
black a countenance as made the attendants tremble ; 
not a look did they exchange in my presence ; but 
obsequiously took my orders, led me to a private 
room, and brought me wherewithal to write. Hyde 
96 



JEKYLL'S FULL STATEMENT 

in danger of his life was a creature new to me : 
shaken with inordinate anger, strung to the pitch of 
murder, lusting to inflict pain. Yet the creature 
was astute ; mastered his fury with a great effort of 
the will ; composed his two important letters, one to 
Lanyon and one to Poole ; and that he might 
receive actual evidence of their being posted, sent 
them out with directions that they should be regis- 
tered. 

Thenceforward, he sat all day over the fire in the 
private room, gnawing his nails ; there he dined, 
sitting alone with his fears, the waiter visibly quailing 
before his eye ; and thence, when the night was 
fully come, he set forth in the corner of a closed 
cab, and was driven to and fro about the streets of 
the city. He, I say — I cannot say, I. That child 
of Hell had nothing human ; nothing lived in him 
but fear and hatred. And when at last, thinking 
the driver had begun to grow suspicious, he dis- 
charged the cab and ventured on foot, attired in his 
misfitting clothes, an object marked out for obser- 
vation, into the midst of the nocturnal passengers, 
these two base passions raged within him like a 
tempest. He walked fast, hunted by his fears, 
chattering to himself, skulking through the less 
frequented thoroughfares, counting the minutes that 
still divided him from midnight. Once a woman 
spoke to him, offering, I think, a box of lights. He 
smote her in the face, and she fled. 

When I came to myself at Lanyon 's, the horror 
of my old friend perhaps affected me somewhat : I 
8-g 97 



DR. JEKYLL AND MR. HYDE 

do not know ; it was at least but a drop in the sea 
to the abhorrence with which I looked back upon 
these hours. A change had come over me. It was 
no longer the fear of the gallows, it was the horror 
of being Hyde that racked me. I received Lanyon's 
condemnation partly in a dream ; it was partly in a 
dream that I came home to my own house and got 
into bed. I slept after the prostration of the day, 
with a stringent and profound slumber which not 
even the nightmares that wrung me could avail to 
break. I awoke in the morning shaken, weakened, 
but refreshed. I still hated and feared the thought 
of the brute that slept within me, and I had not, of 
course, forgotten the appalling dangers of the day 
before ; but 1 was once more at home, in my own 
house and close to my drugs ; and gratitude for my 
escape shone so strong in my soul that it almost 
rivalled the brightness of hope. 

I was stepping leisurely across the court after 
breakfast, drinking the chill of the air with pleasure, 
when I was seized again with those indescribable 
sensations that heralded the change ; and I had but 
the time to gain the shelter of my cabinet, before I 
was once again raging and freezing with the passions 
of Hyde. It took on this occasion a double dose to 
recall me to myself ; and alas ! six hours after, as I 
sat looking sadly in the fire, the pangs returned, and 
the drug had to be re-administered. In short, from 
that day forth it seemed only by a great effort as of 
gymnastics, and only under the immediate stimulation 
of the drug, that I was able to wear the countenance 
98 



JEKYLL'S FULL STATEMENT 

of Jekyll. At all hours of the day and night I 
would be taken with the premonitory shudder ; 
above all, if I slept, or even dozed for a moment in 
my chair, it was always as Hyde that I awakened. 
Under the strain of this continually-impending doom, 
and by the sleeplessness to which I now condemned 
myself, ay, even beyond what I had thought possible 
to man, I became, in my own person, a creature 
eaten up and emptied by fever, languidly weak both 
in body and mind, and solely occupied by one 
thought : the horror of my other self. But when I 
slept, or when the virtue of the medicine wore off, 
I would leap almost without transition (for the pangs 
of transformation grew daily less marked) into the 
possession of a fancy brimming with images of terror, 
a soul boiling with causeless hatreds, and a body 
that seemed not strong enough to contain the raging 
energies of life. The powers of Hyde seemed to 
have grown with the sickliness of Jekyll. And 
certainly the hate that now divided them was equal 
on each side. With Jekyll, it was a thing of vital 
instinct. He had now seen the full deformity of 
that creature that shared with him some of the 
phenomena of consciousness, and was co-heir with 
him to death : and beyond these links of community, 
which in themselves made the most poignant part 
of his distress, he thought of Hyde, for all his energy 
of life, as of something not only hellish but inorganic. 
This was the shocking thing ; that the slime of the 
pit seemed to utter cries and voices ; that the 
amorphous dust gesticulated and sinned ; that what 

99 



DR. JEKYLL AND MR. HYDE 

was dead, and had no shape, should usurp the offices 
of life. And this again, that that insurgent horror 
was knit to him closer than a wife, closer than an 
eye ; lay caged in his flesh, where he heard it mutter 
and felt it struggle to be born ; and at every hour of 
weakness, and in the confidence of slumber, prevailed 
against him, and deposed him out of life. The 
hatred of Hyde for Jekyll was of a different order. 
His terror of the gallows drove him continually to 
commit temporary suicide, and return to his sub- 
ordinate station of a part instead of a person ; but 
he loathed the necessity, he loathed the despondency 
into which Jekyll was now fallen, and he resented 
the dislike with which he was himself regarded. 
Hence the ape-like tricks that he would play me, 
scrawling in my own hand blasphemies on the pages 
of my books, burning the letters and destroying the 
portrait of my father ; and indeed, had it not been 
for his fear of death, he would long ago have ruined 
himself in order to involve me in the ruin. But 
his love of life is wonderful ; I go further : I, who 
sicken and freeze at the mere thought of him, when 
I recall the abjection and passion of this attachment, 
and when I know how he fears my power to cut him 
off by suicide, I find it in my heart to pity him. 

It is useless, and the time awfully fails me, to 
prolong this description ; no one has ever suffered 
such torments, let that suffice ; and yet even to 
these, habit brought — no, not alleviation — but a 
certain callousness of soul, a certain acquiescence of 
despair ; and my punishment might have gone on 
ioo 



.TEKYLL'S FULL STATEMENT 

for years, but for the last calamity which has now 
fallen, and which has finally severed me from my 
own face and nature. My provision of the salt, which 
had never been renewed since the date of the first 
experiment, began to run low. I sent out for a 
fresh supply, and mixed the draught ; the ebullition 
followed, and the first change of colour, not the 
second ; I drank it and it was without efficiency. 
You will learn from Poole how I have had London 
ransacked ; it was in vain ; and I am now persuaded 
that my first supply was impure, and that it was 
that unknown impurity which lent efficacy to the 
draught. 

About a week has passed, and I am now finishing 
this statement under the influence of the last of the 
old powders. This, then, is the last time, short of 
a miracle, that Henry Jekyll can think his own 
thoughts or see his own face (now how sadly altered!) 
in the glass. Nor must I delay too long to bring 
my writing to an end ; for if my narrative has 
hitherto escaped destruction, it has been by a com- 
bination of great prudence and great good luck. 
Should the throes of change take me in the act of 
writing it, Hyde will tear it in pieces ; but if some 
time shall have elapsed after I have laid it by, his 
wonderful selfishness and circumscription to the 
moment will probably save it once again from the 
action of his ape-like spite. And indeed the doom 
that is closing on us both has already changed and 
crushed him. Half an hour from now, when I shall 
again and for ever re-indue that hated personality, I 

IOI 



DR. JEKYLL AND MR. HYDE 

know how I shall sit shuddering and weeping in my 
chair, or continue, with the most strained and fear- 
struck ecstasy of listening, to pace up and down 
this room (my last earthly refuge) and give ear to 
every sound of menace. Will Hyde die upon the 
scaffold ? or will he find the courage to release 
himself at the last moment ? God knows ; I am 
careless ; this is my true hour of death, and what is 
to follow concerns another than myself. Here then, 
as I lay doAvn the pen and proceed to seal up my 
confession, I bring the life of that unhappy Henry 
Jekyll to an end. 



102 



THE MERRY MEN 

AND OTHER TALES 

AND FABLES 



First Collected Edition: Chatto and Windus, 
London, 1887. 

Originally published : 

1. Cornhill Magazine, June and July 1882. 
11. Cornhill Magazine, January 1878. 
in. Unwin's Annual, 1886. 
iv. Cornhill Magazine, October 1881. 
v. Court and Society Review, Christmas 1885. 
vi. Longman's Magazine, April and May 1883. 



CONTENTS 



De< 


iication ..... 


107 


i. 


The Merry Men 






i. Eilean Aros .... 


109 




ii. What the Wreck had brought to Aros 


118 




iii. Land and Sea in Sandag Bay . 


134 




iv. The Gale .... 


148 




v. A Man out of the Sea . 


163 


ii. 


Will o' the Mill 


180 


in. 


Markheim ... . 


219 


IV. 


Thrawn Janet .... 


244 


v. 


Olalla ..... 


260 


VI. 


The Treasure of Franchard 






i. By the Dying Mountebank 


323 




ii. Morning Talk .... 


328 




iii. The Adoption .... 


336 



105 



THE MERRY MEN 

PAGE 

The Treasure of Franchard (continued) 

iv. The Education of a Philosopher . 346 

v. Treasure Trove . . . . 359 

vi. A Criminal Investigation, in two Parts 376 

vii. The Fall of the House of Desprez . 390 

viii. The Wages of Philosophy . . 401 



106 



DEDICATION 

My dear Lady Taylor, 

To your name, if I wrote on brass, I could add nothing"; 
it has been already written higher than I coidd dream to reach, 
by a strong and a dear hand ; and if I now dedicate to you 
these talcs, it is not as the writer ivho brings you his work, but 
as the friend who would remind you of his affection. 

ROBERT LOUIS STEVENSON. 

Skerryvore, Bournemouth. 



107 



THE MERRY MEN 

CHAPTER I 
EILEx\N AROS 

It was a beautiful morning in the late July when I 
set forth on foot for the last time for Aros. A boat 
had put me ashore the night before at Grisapol ; I 
had such breakfast as the little inn afforded, and, 
leaving all my baggage till I had an occasion to 
come round for it by sea, struck right across the 
promontory with a cheerful heart. 

I was far from being a native of these parts, 
springing, as I did, from an unmixed lowland stock. 
But an uncle of mine, Gordon Darnaway, after a 
poor, rough youth, and some years at sea, had 
married a young wife in the islands ; Mary Maclean 
she was called, the last of her family ; and when she 
died in giving birth to a daughter, Aros, the sea-girt 
farm, had remained in his possession. It brought 
him in nothing but the means of life, as I was well 
aware ; but he was a man whom ill-fortune had 
pursued ; he feared, cumbered as he was with the 

109 



THE MERRY MEN 

young child, to make a fresh adventure upon life ; 
and remained in Aros, biting his nails at destiny. 
Years passed over his head in that isolation, and 
brought neither help nor contentment. Meantime 
our family was dying out in the lowlands ; there is 
little luck for any of that race ; and perhaps my 
father was the luckiest of all, for not only was he 
one of the last to die, but he left a son to his name 
and a little money to support it. I was a student 
of Edinburgh University, living well enough at my 
own charges, but without kith or kin ; when some 
news of me found its way to Uncle Gordon on the 
Ross of Grisapol ; and he, as he was a man who held 
blood thicker than water, wrote to me the day he 
heard of my existence, and taught me to count Aros 
as my home. Thus it was that I came to spend my 
vacations in that part of the country, so far from all 
society and comfort, between the codfish and the 
moorcocks ; and thus it was that now, when I had 
done with my classes, I was returning thither with 
so light a heart that July day. 

The Ross, as we call it, is a promontory neither 
wide nor high, but as rough as God made it to this 
day ; the deep sea on either hand of it, full of rugged 
isles and reefs most perilous to seamen — all over- 
looked from the eastward by some very high cliffs 
and the great peak of Ben Kyaw. The Mountain 
of the Mist, they say the words signify in the Gaelic 
tongue ; and it is well named. For that hill-top, 
which is more than three thousand feet in height, 
catches all the clouds that come blowing from the 
no 



EI LEAN AROS 

seaward ; and, indeed, I used often to think that it 
must make them for itself; since when all heaven 
was clear to the sea-level, there would ever be a 
streamer on Ben Kyaw. It brought water, too, and 
was mossy 1 to the top in consequence. 1 have seen 
us sitting in broad sunshine on the Ross, and the 
rain falling black like crape upon the mountain. 
But the wetness of it made it often appear more 
beautiful to my eyes ; for when the sun struck upon 
the hillsides there were many wet rocks and water- 
courses that shone like jewels even as far as Aros, 
fifteen miles away. 

The road that I followed was a cattle-track. It 
twisted so as nearly to double the length of my 
journey ; it went over rough boulders so that a man 
had to leap from one to another, and through soft 
bottoms where the moss came nearly to the knee. 
There was no cultivation anywhere, and not one 
house in the ten miles from Grisapol to Aros. 
Houses of course there were — three at least ; but 
they lay so far on the one side or the other that no 
stranger could have found them from the track. A 
large part of the Ross is covered with big granite 
rocks, some of them larger than a two-roomed house, 
one beside another, with fern and deep heather in 
between them where the vipers breed. Any way the 
wind was, it was always sea-air, as salt as on a ship ; 
the gulls were as free as moorfowl over all the Ross ; 
and whenever the way rose a little, your eye would 
kindle with the brightness of the sea. From the 

1 Boggy. 

Ill 



THE MERRY MEN 

very midst of the land, on a day of wind and a higli 
spring, I have heard the Roost roaring like a battle 
where it runs by Aros, and the great and fearful 
voices of the breakers that we call the Merry Men. 

Aros itself — Aros Jay, I have heard the natives 
call it, and they say it means the House of God — 
Aros itself was not properly a piece of the Ross, nor 
was it quite an islet. It formed the south-west 
corner of the land, fitted close to it, and was in one 
place only separated from the coast by a little gut of 
the sea, not forty feet across the narrowest. When 
the tide was full, this was clear and still, like a pool 
on a land river ; only there was a difference in the 
weeds and fishes, and the water itself was green 
instead of brown ; but when the tide went out, in 
the bottom of the ebb, there was a day or two in 
every month when you could pass dryshod from Aros 
to the mainland. There was some good pasture, 
where my uncle fed the sheep he lived on ; perhaps 
the feed was better because the ground rose higher 
on the islet than the main level of the Ross, but this 
I am not skilled enough to settle. The house was 
a good one for that country, two stories high. It 
looked westward over a bay, with a pier hard by 
for a boat, and from the door you could watch the 
vapours blowing on Ben Kyaw. 

On all this part of the coast, and especially near 
Aros, these great granite rocks that I have spoken 
of go down together in troops into the sea, like cattle 
on a summer's day. There they stand, for all the 
world like their neighbours ashore ; only the salt 
112 



EILEAN AROS 

water sobbing between them instead of the quiet 
earth, and clots of sea-pink blooming on their sides 
instead of heather ; and the great sea-conger to 
wreathe about the base of them instead of the 
poisonous viper of the land. On calm days you can 
go wandering between them in a boat for hours, 
echoes following you about the labyrinth ; but when 
the sea is up, Heaven help the man that hears that 
caldron boiling. 

Off the south-west end of Aros these blocks are 
very many, and much greater in size. Indeed, they 
must grow monstrously bigger out to sea, for there 
must be ten sea miles of open water sown with them 
as thick as a country place with houses, some stand- 
ing thirty feet above the tides, some covered, but 
all perilous to ships ; so that on a clear, westerly 
blowing day, I have counted, from the top of Aros, 
the great rollers breaking white and heavy over as 
many as six-and-forty buried reefs. But it is nearer 
in shore that the danger is worst ; for the tide, here 
running like a mill-race, makes a long belt of broken 
water — a Roost we call it — at the tail of the land. 
I have often been out there in a dead calm at the 
slack of the tide ; and a strange place it is, with 
the sea swirling and combing up and boiling like 
the caldrons of a linn, and now and again a little 
dancing mutter of sound as though the Roost were 
talking to itself. But when the tide begins to run 
again, and above all in heavy weather, there is no 
man could take a boat within half a mile of it, nor 
a ship afloat that could either steer or live in such 
8— h 113 



THE MERRY MEN 

a place You can hear the roaring of it six miles 
away. At the seaward end there conies the strongest 
of the bubble : and it "s here that these big breakers 
dance together — the dance of death, it may be called 
— that have got the name, in these parts, of the 
Merry Men. I have heard it said that they run 
fifty feet high : but that must be the green water 
only, for the spray runs twice as high as that 
Whether they got the name from their movements, 
which are swift and antic, or from the shouting they 
make about the turn of the tide, so that all Aros 
shakes with it is more than I can tell 

The truth is. that in a south-westerly wind that 
part of our archipelago is no better than a trap. If 
a ship got through the reefs, and weathered the 
Merry Men. it would be to come ashore on the 
south coast of Aros, in Sandag Bay. where so many 
dismal things befell our family, as I propose to tell. 
The thought of all these dangers, in the place I 
knew so long, makes me particularly welcome the 
works now going forward to set lights upon the 
headlands and buoys along the channels of our iron- 
bound, inhospitable islands. 

T.e country people had many a story about Aros, 
as I used to hear from my uncle s man. Rorie. an 
old servant of the Macleans, who had transferred 
his services without afterthought on the occasion of 
the marriage. There was some tale of an unlucky 
creature, a sea-kelpie, that dwelt and did business 
in some fearful manner of his own among the boiling 
breakers of the Roost A mermaid had once met a 
114 



EILEAX AROS 

piper on Sandag beach, and there sang to him a long, 
bright midsummer's night, so that in the morning 
he was found stricken crazy, and from thenceforward, 
till the day he died, said only one form of words ; 
what they were in the original Gaelic I cannot tell, 
but they were thus translated : ' Ah. the sweet 
singing out of the sea.' Seals that haunted on that 
coast have been known to speak to man in his own 
tongue, presaging great disasters. It was here that 
a certain saint fir^t landed on his voyage out of 
Ireland to convert the Hebrideans. And. indeed. 
I think he had some claim to be called saint : for. 
with the boats of that past age. to make so rough a 
passage, and land on such a ticklish coast., was surely 
not far short of the miraculous. It was to him. or 
to some of Ms monkish underlings who had a cell 
there, that the islet owes its holy and beautiful 
name, the House of God. 

Among these old wives' stories there was one 
which I was inclined to hear with more credulity. 
A-? I was told, in that tempest which scattered the 
ships of the Invincible Armada over all the north 
and west of Scotland, one great vessel came ashore 
on Aros. and before the eyes of some solitary people 
on a hill-top, went down in a moment with all hands. 
her colours flying even as she sank. There was some 
likelihood in this tale : for another of that fleet lay 
sunk od the north side, twenty miles from Grisapol. 
It was told, I thought, with more detail and gravity 
than its companion stories, and there was one par- 
ticularity which went far to convince me of its truth : 

US 



THE MERRY MEN 

the name, that is, of the ship was still remembered, 
and sounded, in my ears, Spanishly. The Espirito 
Santo they called it, a great ship of many decks of 
guns, laden with treasure and grandees of Spain, and 
fierce soldadoes, that now lay fathom deep to all 
eternity, done with her wars and voyages, in Sandag 
Bay, upon the west of Aros. No more salvos of 
ordnance for that tall ship, the ' Holy Spirit,' no 
more fair winds or happy ventures ; only to rot 
there deep in the sea-tangle and hear the shoutings 
of the Merry Men as the tide ran high about the 
island. It was a strange thought to me first and 
last, and only grew stranger as I learned the more 
of Spain, from which she had set sail with so proud 
a company, and King Philip, the wealthy king, that 
sent her on that voyage. 

And now I must tell you, as I walked from 
Grisapol that day, the Espiiito Santo was very much 
in my reflections. I had been favourably remarked 
by our then Principal in Edinburgh College, that 
famous writer, Dr. Robertson, and by him had been 
set to work on some papers of an ancient date to 
rearrange and sift of what was worthless ; and in one 
of these, to my great wonder, I found a note of this 
very ship, the Espirito Santo, with her captain's 
name, and how she carried a great part of the 
Spaniards' treasure, and had been lost upon the 
Ross of Grisapol ; but in what particular spot 
the wild tribes of that place and period would give 
no information to the king's inquiries. Putting one 
thing with another, and taking our island tradition 
116 



EILEAN AROS 

together with this note of old King Jamie's perqui- 
sitions after wealth, it had come strongly on my 
mind that the spot for which he sought in vain 
could be no other than the small bay of Sandag on 
my uncle's land ; and being a fellow of a mechanical 
turn, I had ever since been plotting how to weigh 
that good ship up again with all her ingots, ounces, 
and doubloons, and bring back our house of Darna- 
way to its long-forgotten dignity and wealth. 

This was a design of which I soon had reason to 
repent. My mind was sharply turned on different 
reflections ; and since I became the witness of a 
strange judgment of God's, the thought of dead 
men's treasures has been intolerable to my conscience. 
But even at that time I must acquit myself of sordid 
greed ; for if I desired riches, it was not for their 
own sake, but for the sake of a person who was 
dear to my heart — my uncle's daughter, Mary Ellen. 
She had been educated well, and had been a time 
to school upon the mainland ; which, poor girl, she 
would have been happier without. For Aros was 
no place for her, with old Rorie the servant, and 
her father, who was one of the unhappiest men in 
Scotland, plainly bred up in a country place among 
Cameronians, long a skipper sailing out of the Clyde 
about the islands, and now, with infinite discontent, 
managing his sheep and a little 'long shore fishing for 
the necessary bread. If it was sometimes weariful 
to me, who was there but a month or two, you may 
fancy what it was to her who dwelt in that same 
desert all the year round, with the sheep and flying 

117 



THE MERRY MEN 

sea-gulls, and the Merry Men singing and dancing 
in the Roost ! 



CHAPTER II 

WHAT THE WRECK HAD BROUGHT TO AROS 

It was half-flood when I got the length of Aros ; 
and there was nothing for it but to stand on the far 
shore and whistle for Rorie with the boat. I had 
no need to repeat the signal. At the first sound, 
Mary was at the door flying a handkerchief by way 
of answer, and the old long-legged serving-man was 
shambling down the gravel to the pier. For all his 
hurry, it took him a long while to pull across the 
bay ; and I observed him several times to pause, go 
into the stern, and look over curiously into the wake. 
As he came nearer, he seemed to me aged and 
haggard, and I thought he avoided my eye. The 
coble had been repaired, with two new thwarts and 
several patches of some rare and beautiful foreign 
wood, the name of it unknown to me. 

' Why, Rorie,' said I, as Ave began the return 
voyage, ' this is fine wood. How came you by 
that ? ' 

' It will be hard to cheesel,' Rorie opined re- 
luctantly ; and just then, dropping the oars, he 
made another of those dives into the stern which I 
had remarked as he came across to fetch me, and, 
leaning his hand on my shoulder, stared with an 
awful look into the waters of the bay. 
118 



WHAT THE WRECK BROUGHT 

' What is wrong ? ' I asked, a good deal startled. 

' It will be a great feesh,' said the old man, 
returning to his oars ; and nothing more could I get 
out of him, but strange glances and an ominous 
nodding of the head. In spite of myself, I was 
infected with a measure of uneasiness ; I turned 
also, and studied the wake. The water was still and 
transparent, but, out here in the middle of the bay, 
exceeding deep. For some time I could see naught ; 
but at last it did seem to me as if something dark 
— a great fish, or perhaps only a shadow — followed 
studiously in the track of the moving coble. And 
then I remembered one of Rorie's superstitions : 
how in a ferry in Morven, in some great, extermi- 
nating feud among the clans, a fish, the like of it 
unknown in all our waters, followed for some years 
the passage of the ferry-boat, until no man dared to 
make the crossing. 

' He will be waiting for the right man,' said Rorie. 

Mary met me on the beach, and led me up the 
brae and into the house of Aros. Outside and inside 
there were many changes. The garden was fenced 
with the same wood that I had noted in the boat ; 
there were chairs in the kitchen covered with strange 
brocade ; curtains of brocade hung from the window ; 
a clock stood silent on the dresser ; a lamp of brass 
was swinging from the roof; the table was set for 
dinner with the finest of linen and silver ; and all 
these new riches were displayed in the plain old 
kitchen that I knew so well, with the high-backed 
settle, and the stools, and the closet bed for Rorie ; 

119 



THE MERRY MEN 

with the wide chimney the sun shone into, and the 
clear-smouldering peats ; with the pipes on the 
mantelshelf and the three-cornered spittoons, filled 
with sea-shells instead of sand, on the floor ; with 
the bare stone walls and the bare wooden floor, and 
the three patchwork rugs that were of yore its sole 
adornment— poor man's patchwork, the like of it 
unknown in cities, woven with homespun, and 
Sunday black, and sea-cloth polished on the bench 
of rowing. The room, like the house, had been a 
sort of wonder in that country-side, it was so neat 
and habitable ; and to see it now, shamed by these 
incongruous additions, filled me with indignation 
and a kind of anger. In view of the errand I had 
come upon to Aros, the feeling was baseless and 
unjust ; but it burned high, at the first moment, in 
my heart. 

' Mary, girl,' said I, ' this is the place I had learned 
to call my home, and I do not know it.' 

' It is my home by nature, not by the learning,' 
she replied ; ' the place I was born and the place 
I 'm like to die in ; and I neither like these changes, 
nor the way they came, nor that which came with 
them. I would have liked better, under God's 
pleasure, they had gone down into the sea, and the 
Merry Men were dancing on them now.' 

Mary was always serious ; it was perhaps the only 
trait that she shared with her father ; but the tone 
with which she uttered these words was even graver 
than of custom. 

' Ay,' said I, ' I feared it came by wreck, and 
1 20 



WHAT THE WRECK BROUGHT 

that 's by death ; yet when my father died I took 
his goods without remorse.' 

* Your father died a clean-strae death, as the folk 
say,' said Mary. 

'True,' I returned; 'and a wreck is like a judg- 
ment. What was she called ? ' 

'They ca'd her the Christ-Anna,' 1 said a voice 
behind me ; and, turning round, I saw my uncle 
standing in the doorway. 

He was a sour, small, bilious man, with a long 
face and very dark eyes ; fifty-six years old, sound 
and active in body, and with an air somewhat 
between that of a shepherd and that of a man 
following the sea. He never laughed, that I heard ; 
read long at the Bible ; prayed much, like the 
Cameronians he had been brought up among ; and 
indeed, in many ways, used to remind me of one 
of the hill-preachers in the killing times before the 
Revolution. But he never got much comfort, nor 
even, as I used to think, much guidance, by his 
piety. He had his black fits when he was afraid of 
hell ; but he had led a rough life, to which he would 
look back with envy, and was still a rough, cold, 
gloomy man. 

As he came in at the door out of the sunlight, 
with his bonnet on his head and a pipe hanging 
in his button-hole, he seemed, like Rorie, to have 
grown older and paler, the lines were deeplier 
ploughed upon his face, and the whites of his eyes 
were yellow, like old stained ivory, or the bones of 
the dead. 

121 



THE MERRY MEN 

' Ay,' he repeated, dwelling upon the first part of 
the word, 'the Christ-Anna. It's an awfu' name.' 

I made him my salutations, and complimented 
him upon his look of health ; for I feared he had 
perhaps been ill. 

' I 'm in the body,' he replied, ungraciously enough ; 
' aye in the body and the sins of the body, like 
yoursel'. — Denner,' he said abruptly to Mary, and 
then ran on, to me : ' They 're grand braws, thir that 
we hae gotten, are they no' ? Yon 's a bonny knock, 1 
but it '11 no gang ; and the napery 's by-ordnar. 
Bonny, bairnly braws ; it 's for the like o' them folk 
sells the peace of God that passeth understanding ; 
it 's for the like o' them, an' maybe no' even sae 
muckle worth, folk daunton God to His face and 
burn in muckle hell ; and it 's for that reason the 
Scripture ca's them, as I read the passage, the 
accursed thing. — Mary, ye girzie,' he interrupted 
himself to cry with some asperity, ' what for hae ye 
no' put out the twa candlesticks ? ' 

' Why should we need them at high noon ? ' she 
asked. 

But my uncle was not to be turned from his idea. 
' We 11 bruik 2 them while we may,' he said ; and so 
two massive candlesticks of wrought silver were 
added to the table equipage, already so unsuited to 
that rough sea-side farm. 

' She cam' ashore Februar' 10, about ten at nicht,' 
he went on to me. ' There was nae wind, and a sair 
run o' sea ; and she was in the sook o' the Roost, as 

1 Clock. 2 Enjoy. 

122 



WHAT THE WRECK BROUGHT 

I jaloose. We had seen her a' day, Rorie and me, 
beating to the wind. She wasna a handy craft, 
I 'm thinking, that Christ- Anna ; for she would 
neither steer nor stey wi' them. A sair day they 
had of it ; their hands was never aft' the sheets, and 
it perishin' cauld — ower cauld to snaw ; and aye they 
would get a bit nip o' wind, and awa' again, to pit 
the emp'y hope into them. Eh, man ! but they had 
a sair day for the last o't ! He would have had a 
prood, prood heart that won ashore upon the back 
o' that.' 

' And were all lost ? ' I cried. ' God help them ! ' 

' Wheesht ! ' he said sternly. ' Nane shall pray 
for the deid on my hearth-stane.' 

I disclaimed a Popish sense for my ejaculation ; 
and he seemed to accept my disclaimer with unusual 
facility, and ran on once more upon what had evi- 
dently become a favourite subject. 

' We fand her in Sandag Bay, Rorie an' me, and 
a' thae braws in the inside of her. There 's a kittle 
bit, ye see, about Sandag ; whiles the sook rins 
strong for the Merry Men ; an' whiles again, when 
the tides makin' hard an' ye can hear the Roost 
blawin' at the far-end of Aros, there comes a back- 
spang of current straucht into Sandag Bay. Weel, 
there 's the thing that got the grip on the Christ- 
Anna. She but to have come in ram-stam an' stern 
forrit ; for the bows of her are aften under, and the 
back-side of her is clear at hie-water o' neaps. But, 
man ! the dunt that she cam doon wi' when she 
struck ! Lord save us a' ! but it 's an unco life to be 

123 



THE MERRY MEN 

a sailor — a cauld, wan chancy life. Mony 's the gliff 
I got mysel' in the great deep ; and why the Lord 
should hae made yon unco water is mair than ever 
I could win to understand. He made the vales and 
the pastures, the bonny green yaird, the halesome, 
canty land — 

And now they shout and sing to Thee, 
For Thou hast made them glad, 

as the Psalms say in the metrical version. No' that 
I would preen my faith to that clink neither ; but 
it 's bonny, and easier to mind. ' Who go to sea in 
ships,' they hae't again — 

and in 
Great waters trading be, 
Within the deep these men God's works 
And His great wonders see. 

Weel, it's easy sayin' sae. Maybe Dauvit wasna 
very weel acquant wi' the sea. But, troth, if it 
wasna prentit in the Bible, I wad whiles be temp'it 
to think it wasna the Lord, but the muckle, black 
deil that made the sea. There's naething good 
comes oot o't but the fish ; an' the spentacle o' God 
riding on the tempest, to be shiire, whilk would be 
what Dauvit was likely ettling at. But, man, they 
were sair wonders that God showed to the Christ- 
Anna — wonders, do I ca' them ? Judgments rather : 
judgments in the mirk nicht among the draygons o' 
the deep. And their souls — to think o' that — their 
souls, man, maybe no prepared ! The sea — a muckle 
yett to hell ! ' 
124 



WHAT THE WRECK BROUGHT 

I observed, as my uncle spoke, that his voice 
was unnaturally moved and his manner unwontedly 
demonstrative. He leaned forward at these last 
words, for example, and touched me on the knee 
with his spread ringers, looking up into my face 
with a certain pallor, and I could see that his eyes 
shone with a deep-seated fire, and that the lines 
about his mouth were drawn and tremulous. 

Even the entrance of Rorie, and the beginning 
of our meal, did not detach him from his train of 
thought beyond a moment. He condescended, in- 
deed, to ask me some questions as to my success at 
College, but I thought it was with half his mind; 
and even in his extempore grace, which was, as 
usual, long and wandering, I could find the trace of 
his pre-occupation, praying, as he did, that God 
would 'remember in mercy fower puir, feckless, 
fiddling, sinful creatures here by their lee-lane be- 
side the great and dowie waters.' 

Soon there came an interchange of speeches be- 
tween him and Rorie. 

1 Was it there ? ' asked my uncle. 

' Ou ay ! ' said Rorie. 

I observed that they both spoke in a manner of 
aside, and with some show of embarrassment, and 
that Mary herself appeared to colour, and looked 
down on her plate. Partly to show my knowledge, 
and so relieve the party from an awkward strain, 
partly because I was curious, I pursued the subject. 

' You mean the fish ? ' I asked. 

' Whatten fish ? ' cried my uncle. ' Fish, quo 1 

125 



THE MERRY MEN 

he ! Fish ! Your een are fu" o' fatness, man ; your 
heid dozened wi* carnal leir. Fish ! it 's a bogle !' 

He spoke with great vehemence, as though angry ; 
and perhaps I was not very willing to be put down 
so shortly., for young men are disputatious. At least 
I remember I retorted hotly, crying out upon childish 
superstitions. 

■ And ye come frae the College ! ' sneered Uncle 
Gordon. * Gude kens what they learn folk there ; 
it 's no' muckle service anyway. Do ye think, man, 
that there 's naething in a' yon saut wilderness o' a 
world oot wast there, wi' the sea-grasses growin', an' 
the sea-beasts fechtin', an' the sun glintin' down into 
it, day by day ? Xa ; the sea 's like the land, but 
fearsomer. If there 's folk ashore, there 's folk in the 
sea — deid they may be, but they 're folk whatever ; 
and as for deils, there 's nane that 's like the sea-deils. 
There 's no sae muckle harm in the land-deils, when 
a's said and done. Lang syne, when I was a callant 
in the south country, I mind there was an auld, bald 
bogle in the Peewie Moss. I got a glisk o' him 
mvsel', sittin' on his hunkers in a hag, as grey 's a 
tombstane. An', troth, he was a fearsome-like taed. 
But he steered naebody. Nae doobt, if ane that was 
a reprobate, ane the Lord hated, had gane by there 
wi* his sin still upon his stamach, nae doobt the 
creature would hae lowped upo' the likes o' him. 
But there 's deils in the deep sea would yoke on a 
communicant ! Eh, sirs, if ye had gane doon wi' the 
puir lads in the Christ- Anna, ye would ken by now 
the mercy o' the seas. If ye had sailed it for as lang 
126 



WHAT THE WRECK BROUGHT 

as me, ye would hate the thocht of it as I do. If ye 
had but used the een God gave ye, ye would hae 
learned the wickedness o' that fa use, saut, cauld, 
bullering creature, and of a' that's in it by the 
Lord's permission : labsters an' partans, an' sic-like, 
howking in the deid ; muckle, gutsy, blawing whales ; 
an' fish — the hale clan o' them — cauld- warned, blind- 
ee'd uncanny ferlies. Oh, sirs,' he cried, 'the horror 
— the horror o' the sea ! ' 

We were all somewhat staggered by this outburst ; 
and the speaker himself, after that last hoarse apo- 
strophe, appeared to sink gloomily into his own 
thoughts. But Rorie, who was greedy of supersti- 
tious lore, recalled him to the subject by a question. 

' You will not ever have seen a teevil of the sea ? ' 
he asked. 

• No' clearly,' replied the other. ' I misdoobt if a 
mere man could see ane clearly and conteenue in the 
body. I hae sailed wi' a lad— they ca'd him Sandy 
Gabart ; he saw ane, shlire eneuch, an' shure eneuch 
it was the end of him. We were seeven days oot 
frae the Clyde — a sair wark we had had — gaun north 
wi' seeds an' braws an' things for the Macleod. We 
had got in ower near under the Cutchull'ns, an' had 
just gane about by Soa, an' were off on a long tack, 
we thocht would maybe hauld as far 's Copnahow. 
I mind the nicht weel ; a mime smoored wi' mist ; a 
fine-gaim breeze upon the water, but no steedy ; an' 
— what nane o' us likit to hear — anither wund gurlin' 
owerheid, amang thae fearsome, auld stane craigs o' 
the Cutchull'ns. Weel, Sandy was forrit wi' the jib 

127 



THE MERRY MEN 

sheet ; we couldna see him for the mains'l, that had 
just begude to draw, when a' at ance he gied a skirl. 
I luffed for my life, for I thocht we were ower near 
Soa ; but na, it wasna that, it was puir Sandy 
Gabart's deid skreigh, or near-hand, for he was deid 
in half an hour. A't he could tell was that a sea- 
deil, or sea-bogle, or sea-spenster, or sic-like, had 
clum up by the bowsprit, an' gien him ae cauld, 
uncanny look. An', or the life was oot o' Sandy's 
body, we kent weel what the thing betokened, and 
why the wund gurled in the taps o' the Cutchull'ns ; 
for doon it cam' — a wund do I ca' it ! it was the 
wund o' the Lord's anger — an' a' that nicht we focht 
like men dementit, and the neist that we kenned we 
were ashore in Loch Uskevagh, an' the cocks were 
crawin' in Benbecula.' 

' It will have been a merman,' Rorie said. 

1 A merman ! ' screamed my uncle with immeasur- 
able scorn. * Auld wives' clavers ! There 's nae sic 
things as mermen.' 

' But what was the creature like V I asked. 

* What like was it ? Gude forbid that we suld ken 
what like it was ! It had a kind of a heid upon it — 
man could say nae mair.' 

Then Rorie, smarting under the affront, told 
several tales of mermen, mermaids, and sea-horses 
that had come ashore upon the islands and attacked 
the crews of boats upon the sea ; and my uncle, 
in spite of his incredulity, listened with uneasy 
interest. 

'Aweel, aweel,' he said, 'it may be sae ; I may 
128 



WHAT THE WRECK BROUGHT 

be wrang ; but I find nae word o' mermen in the 
Scriptures.' 

'And you will find nae word of Aros Roost, 
maybe,' objected Rorie, and his argument appeared 
to carry weight. 

When dinner was over, my uncle carried me forth 
with him to a bank behind the house. It was a very 
hot and quiet afternoon ; scarce a ripple anywhere 
upon the sea, nor any voice but the familiar voice of 
sheep and gulls ; and perhaps in consequence of this 
repose in nature, my kinsman showed himself more 
rational and tranquil than before. He spoke evenly 
and almost cheerfully of my career, with every now 
and then a reference to the lost ship or the treasures 
it had brought to Aros. For my part, I listened to 
him in a sort of trance, gazing with all my heart on 
that remembered scene, and drinking gladly the sea- 
air and the smoke of peats that had been lit by Mary. 

Perhaps an hour had passed when my uncle, who 
had all the while been covertly gazing on the surface 
of the little bay, rose to his feet and bade me follow 
his example. Now I should say that the great run 
of tide at the south-west end of Aros exercises a per- 
turbing influence round all the coast. In Sandag 
Bay, to the south, a strong current runs at certain 
periods of the flood and ebb respectively ; but in this 
northern bay — Aros Bay, as it is called — where the 
house stands and on which my uncle was now gazing, 
the only sign of disturbance is towards the end of 
the ebb, and even then it is too slight to be remark- 
able. When there is any swell, nothing can be seen 
8—i 129 



THE MERRY MEN 

at all ; but when it is calm, as it often is, there 
appear certain strange, undecipherable marks — sea- 
runes, as we may name them — on the glassy surface 
of the bay. The like is common in a thousand 
places on the coast ; and many a boy must have 
amused himself as I did, seeking to read in them 
some reference to himself or those he loved. It was 
to these marks that my uncle now directed my 
attention, struggling, as he did so, with an evident 
reluctance. 

' Do you see yon scart upo' the water ? ' he in- 
quired ; ' yon ane wast the grey stane ? Ay ? 
Weel, it '11 no' be like a letter, wull it ? ' 

' Certainly it is,' I replied. ' I have often remarked 
it. It is like a C 

He heaved a sigh as if heavily disappointed with 
my answer, and then added below his breath : ' Ay, 
for the Christ- Anna' 

'I used to suppose, sir, it was for myself,' said I ; 
'for my name is Charles.' 

' And so ye saw 't afore ? ' he ran on, not heeding 
my remark. ' Weel, weel, but that 's unco strange. 
Maybe it's been there waitin', as a man wad say, 
through a' the weary ages. Man, but that's awfu'.' 
And then, breaking off: 'Ye '11 no' see anither, will 
ye ? ' he asked. 

' Yes,' said I. ' I see another very plainly, near 
the Ross side, where the road comes down — an M.' 

' An M,' he repeated very low ; and then, again 
after another pause : ' An' what wad ye make o' 
that ? ' he inquired 
130 



WHAT THE WRECK BROUGHT 

' I had always thought it to mean Mary, sir,' I 
answered, growing somewhat red, convinced as I 
was in my own mind that I was on the threshold 
of a decisive explanation. 

But we were each following his own train of 
thought to the exclusion of the other's. My uncle 
once more paid no attention to my words ; only 
hung his head and held his peace ; and I might have 
been led to fancy that he had not heard me, if his 
next speech had not contained a kind of echo from 
my own. 

' I would say naething o' thae clavers to Mary,' he 
observed, and began to walk forward. 

There is a belt of turf along the side of Aros Bay 
where walking is easy ; and it was along this that I 
silently followed my silent kinsman. I was perhaps 
a little disappointed at having lost so good an oppor- 
tunity to declare my love ; but I was at the same 
time far more deeply exercised at the change that 
had befallen my uncle. He was never an ordinary, 
never, in the strict sense, an amiable, man ; but there 
was nothing in even the worst that I had known of 
him before, to prepare me for so strange a transfor- 
mation. It was impossible to close the eyes against 
one fact ; that he had, as the saying goes, something 
on his mind ; and as I mentally ran over the different 
words which might be represented by the letter M — 
misery, mercy, marriage, money, and the like— I was 
arrested with a sort of start by the word murder. I 
was still considering the ugly sound and fatal mean- 
ing of the word, when the direction of our walk 

131 



THE MERRY MEN 

brought us to a point from which a view was to be 
had to either side, back towards Aros Bay and home- 
stead, and forward on the ocean, dotted to the north 
with isles, and lying to the southward blue and open 
to the sky. There my guide came to a halt, and 
stood staring for a while on that expanse. Then he 
turned to me and laid a hand on my arm. 

' Ye think there 's naething there ? ' he said, point- 
ing with his pipe ; and then cried out aloud, with a 
kind of exultation : ' I '11 tell ye, man ! The deid are 
down there — thick like rattons ! ' 

He turned at once, and, without another word, we 
retraced our steps to the house of Aros. 

I was eager to be alone with Mary ; yet it was 
not till after supper, and then but for a short while, 
that I could have a word with her. I lost no time 
beating about the bush, but spoke out plainly what 
was on my mind. 

' Mary,' I said, ' I have not come to Aros without 
a hope. If that should prove well founded, we may 
all leave and go somewhere else, secure of daily bread 
and comfort ; secure, perhaps, of something far be- 
yond that, which it would seem extravagant in me 
to promise. But there 's a hope that lies nearer to 
my heart than money.' And at that I paused. 
'You can guess fine what that is, Mary,' I said. 
She looked away from me in silence, and that was 
small encouragement, but I was not to be put off. 
' All my days I have thought the world of you,' I 
continued ; ' the time goes on and 1 think always the 
more of you; I could not think to be happy or hearty 
132 



WHAT THE WRECK BROUGHT 

in my life without you : you are the apple of niy 
eye.' Still she looked away, and said never a word ; 
but I thought I saw that her hands shook. ' Mary,' 
I cried in fear, ' do ye no' like me ? ' 

' Oh, Charlie man,' she said, ' is this a time to speak 
of it ? Let me be a while ; let me be the way I am ; 
it 11 not be you that loses by the waiting ! ' 

I made out by her voice that she was nearly weep- 
ing, and this put me out of any thought but to 
compose her. ' Mary Ellen,' I said, ' say no more ; 
I did not come to trouble you : your way shall be 
mine, and your time too ; and you have told me all 
I wanted. Only just this one thing more : what ails 
you?' 

She owned it was her father, but would enter into 
no particulars, only shook her head, and said he was 
not well and not like himself, and it was a great pity. 
She knew nothing of the wreck. ' I havena been 
near it,' said she. ' What for would I go near it, 
Charlie lad? The poor souls are gone to their 
account long syne ; and I would just have wished 
they had ta'en their gear with them — poor souls ! ' 

This was scarcely any great encouragement for me 
to tell her of the Espirito Santo ; yet I did so, and 
at the very first word she cried out in surprise. 
' There was a man at Grisapol,' she said, ' in the 
month of May — a little, yellow, black-avised body, 
they tell me, with gold rings upon his fingers, and a 
beard ; and he was speiring high and low for that 
same ship.' 

It was towards the end of April that I had been 

133 



THE MERRY MEN 

given these papers to sort out by Dr. Robertson : 
and it came suddenly back upon my mind that they 
were thus prepared for a Spanish historian, or a man 
calling himself such, who had come with high recom- 
mendations to the Principal, on a mission of inquiry 
as to the dispersion of the great Armada. Putting 
one thing with another, I fancied that the visitor 
' with the gold rings upon his fingers ' might be the 
same with Dr. Robertson's historian from Madrid. 
If that were so, he would be more likely after 
treasure for himself than information for a learned 
society. I made up my mind I should lose no time 
over my undertaking ; and if the ship lay sunk in 
Sandag Bay, as perhaps both he and I supposed, it 
should not be for the advantage of this ringed adven- 
turer, but for Mary and myself, and for the good, 
old, honest, kindly family of the Darnaways. 



CHAPTER III 

LAND AND SEA IN SANDAG BAY 

I was early afoot next morning ; and as soon as I 
had a bite to eat, set forth upon a tour of explora- 
tion. Something in my heart distinctly told me that 
I should find the ship of the Armada ; and although 
I did not give Avay entirely to such hopeful thoughts, 
I was still very light in spirits and walked upon air. 
Aros is a very rough islet, its surface strewn with 
great rocks and shaggy with fern and heather ; and 
134 



IN SAND AG BAY 

my way lay almost north and south across the highest 
knoll ; and though the whole distance was inside of 
two miles, it took more time and exertion than four 
upon a level road. Upon the summit, I paused. 
Although not very high — not three hundred feet, as 
I think — it yet outtops all the neighbouring lowlands 
of the Ross, and commands a great view of sea and 
islands. The sun, which had been up some time, 
was already hot upon my neck ; the air was listless 
and thundery, although purely clear ; away over the 
north-west, where the isles lie thickliest congregated, 
some half a dozen small and ragged clouds hung 
together in a covey ; and the head of Ben Kyaw 
wore, not merely a few streamers, but a solid hood 
of vapour. There was a threat in the weather. The 
sea, it is true, was smooth like glass : even the Roost 
was but a seam on that wide mirror, and the Merry 
Men no more than caps of foam ; but to my eye and 
ear, so long familiar with these places, the sea also 
seemed to lie uneasily ; a sound of it, like a long 
sigh, mounted to me where I stood ; and, quiet as it 
was, the Roost itself appeared to be revolving mis- 
chief. For I ought to say that all we dwellers in 
these parts attributed, if not prescience, at least a 
quality of warning, to that strange and dangerous 
creature of the tides. 

I hurried on, then, with the greater speed, and had 
soon descended the slope of Aros to the part that we 
call Sandag Bay. It is a pretty large piece of water 
compared with the size of the isle ; well sheltered 
from all but the prevailing wind ; sandy and shoal 

135 



THE MERRY MEN 

and bounded by low sand-hills to the west, but to 
the eastward lying several fathoms deep along a ledge 
of rocks. It is upon that side that, at a certain time 
each flood, the current mentioned by my uncle sets 
so strong into the bay ; a little later, when the Roost 
begins to work higher, an undertow runs still more 
strongly in the reverse direction ; and it is the action 
of this last, as I suppose, that has scoured that part 
so deep. Nothing is to be seen out of Sandag Bay 
but one small segment of the horizon and, in heavy 
weather, the breakers flying high over a deep-sea 
reef. 

From half-way down the hill I had perceived the 
wreck of February last, a brig of considerable ton- 
nage, lying, with her back broken, high and dry on 
the east corner of the sands ; and I was making 
directly towards it, and already almost on the margin 
of the turf, when my eyes were suddenly arrested by 
a spot, cleared of fern and heather, and marked by 
one of those long, low, and almost human-looking 
mounds that we see so commonly in graveyards. I 
stopped like a man shot. Nothing had been said to 
me of any dead man or interment on the island ; 
Rorie, Mary, and my uncle had all equally held their 
peace ; of her at least, I was certain that she must 
be ignorant ; and yet here, before my eyes, was proof 
indubitable of the fact. Here was a grave; and I 
had to ask myself, with a chill, what manner of man 
lay there in his last sleep, awaiting the signal of the 
Lord in that solitary, sea-beat resting-place ? My 
mind supplied no answer but what I feared to enter- 
136 



IN SAND AG BAY 

tain. Shipwrecked, at least, he must have been ; 
perhaps, like the old Armada mariners, from some 
far and rich land over-sea ; or perhaps one of my own 
race, perishing within eyesight of the smoke of home. 
I stood a while uncovered by his side, and I could 
have desired that it had lain in our religion to put 
up some prayer for that unhappy stranger, or, in the 
old classic way, outwardly to honour his misfortune. 
I knew, although his bones lay there, a part of Aros, 
till the trumpet sounded, his imperishable soul was 
forth and far away, among the raptures of the ever- 
lasting Sabbath or the pangs of hell ; and yet my 
mind misgave me even with a fear, that perhaps he 
was near me where I stood, guarding his sepulchre, 
and lingering on the scene of his unhappy fate. 

Certainly it was with a spirit somewhat over- 
shadowed that I turned away from the grave to the 
hardly less melancholy spectacle of the wreck. Her 
stem was above the first arc of the flood ; she was 
broken in two a little abaft the foremast — though 
indeed she had none, both masts having broken short 
in her disaster ; and as the pitch of the beach was 
very sharp and sudden, and the bows lay many feet 
below the stern, the fracture gaped widely open, and 
you could see right through her poor hull upon the 
farther side. Her name was much defaced, and I 
could not make out clearly whether she was called 
Christiania, after the Norwegian city, or Christiana, 
after the good woman, Christian's wife, in that old 
book the Pilgrim's Progress. By her build she was 
a foreign ship, but I was not certain of her nation - 

137 



THE MERRY MEN 

ality. She had been painted green, but the colour 
was faded and weathered, and the paint peeling off 
in strips. The wreck of the mainmast lay alongside, 
half-buried in sand. She was a forlorn sight, indeed, 
and I could not look without emotion at the bits of 
rope that still hung about her, so often handled of 
yore by shouting seamen ; or the little scuttle where 
they had passed up and down to their affairs ; or that 
poor noseless angel of a figure-head that had dipped 
into so many running billows. 

I do not know whether it came most from the ship 
or from the grave, but I fell into some melancholy 
scruples, as I stood there, leaning with one hand 
against the battered timbers. The homelessness of 
men, and even of inanimate vessels, cast away upon 
strange shores, came strongly in upon my mind. To 
make a profit of such pitiful misadventures seemed 
an unmanly and a sordid act; and I began to think 
of my then quest as of something sacrilegious in its 
nature. But when I remembered Mary I took heart 
again. My uncle would never consent to an impru- 
dent marriage, nor would she, as I was persuaded, 
wed without his full approval. It behoved me, then, 
to be up and doing for my wife ; and I thought with 
a laugh how long it was since that great sea-castle, 
the Espirito Santo, had left her bones in Sandag 
Bay, and how weak it would be to consider rights so 
long extinguished and misfortunes so long forgotten 
in the process of time. 

I had my theory of where to seek for her remains. 
The set of the current and the soundings both pointed 
138 



IN SANDAG BAY 

to the east side of the bay under the ledge of rocks. 
If she had been lost in Sandag Bay, and if, after 
these centuries, any portion of her held together, it 
was there that I should find it. The water deepens, 
as I have said, with great rapidity, and even close 
alongside the rocks several fathoms may be found. 
As I walked upon the edge I could see far and wide 
over the sandy bottom of the bay ; the sun shone 
clear and green and steady in the deeps ; the bay 
seemed rather like a great transparent crystal, as one 
sees them in a lapidary's shop ; there was naught to 
show that it was water but an internal trembling, a 
hovering within of sun-glints and netted shadows, 
and now and then a faint lap and a dying bubble 
round the edge. The shadows of the rocks lay out 
for some distance at their feet, so that my own 
shadow, moving, pausing, and stooping on the top 
of that, reached sometimes half across the bay. It 
was above all in this belt of shadows that I hunted 
for the Espirito Santo ; since it was there the under- 
tow ran strongest, whether in or out. Cool as the 
whole water seemed this broiling day, it looked, in 
that part, yet cooler, and had a mysterious invitation 
for the eyes. Peer as I pleased, however, I could 
see nothing but a few fishes or a bush of sea-tangle, 
and here and there a lump of rock that had fallen 
from above and now lay separate on the sandy floor. 
Twice did I pass from one end to the other of the 
rocks, and in the whole distance I could see nothing 
of the wreck, nor any place but one where it was 
possible for it to be. This was a large terrace in five 

139 



THE MERRY MEN 

fathoms of water, raised off the surface of the sand 
to a considerable height, and looking from above like 
a mere outgrowth of the rocks on which I walked. 
It was one mass of great sea-tangles like a grove, 
which prevented me judging of its nature, but in 
shape and size it bore some likeness to a vessel's hull. 
At least it was my best chance. If the Espirito 
Santo lay not there under the tangles, it lay nowhere 
at all in Sandag Bay ; and I prepared to put the 
question to the proof, once and for all, and either go 
back to Aros a rich man or cured for ever of my 
dreams of wealth. 

I stripped to the skin, and stood on the extreme 
margin with my hands clasped, irresolute. The bay 
at that time was utterly quiet ; there was no sound 
but from a school of porpoises somewhere out of 
sight behind the point ; yet a certain fear withheld 
me on the threshold of my venture. Sad sea-feelings, 
scraps of my uncles superstitions, thoughts of the 
dead, of the grave, of the old broken ships, drifted 
through my mind. But the strong sun upon my 
shoulders warmed me to the heart, and I stooped 
forward and plunged into the sea. 

It was all that I could do to catch a trail of the 
sea- tangle that grew so thickly on the terrace ; but 
once so far anchored I secured myself by grasping a 
whole armful of these thick and slimy stalks, and, 
planting my feet against the edge, I looked around 
me. On all sides the clear sand stretched forth un- 
broken ; it came to the foot of the rocks, scoured into 
the likeness of an alley in a garden by the action of 
140 



IN SANDAG BAY 

the tides ; and before me, for as far as I could see, 
nothing was visible but the same many-folded sand 
upon the sun-bright bottom of the bay. Yet the 
terrace to which I was then holding was as thick 
with strong sea-growths as a tuft of heather, and the 
cliff from which it bulged hung draped below the 
water-line with brown lianas. In this complexity of 
forms, all swaying together in the current, things 
were hard to be distinguished ; and I was still un- 
certain whether my feet were pressed upon the 
natural rock or upon the timbers of the Armada 
treasure-ship, when the whole tuft of tangle came 
away in my hand, and in an instant I was on the 
surface, and the shores of the bay and the bright 
water swam before my eyes in a glory of crimson. 

I clambered back upon the rocks, and threw the 
plant of tangle at my feet. Something at the same 
moment rang sharply, like a falling coin. I stooped, 
and there, sure enough, crusted with the red rust, 
there lay an iron shoe-buckle. The sight of this 
poor human relic thrilled me to the heart, but not 
with hope nor fear, only with a desolate melancholy. 
I held it in my hand, and the thought of its owner 
appeared before me like the presence of an actual 
man. His weather-beaten face, his sailor's hands, 
his sea-voice hoarse with singing at the capstan, the 
very foot that had once worn that buckle and trod 
so much along the swerving decks — the whole 
human fact of him, as a creature like myself, with 
hair and blood and seeing eyes, haunted me in that 
sunny, solitary place, not like a spectre, but like 

141 



THE MERRY MEN 

some friend whom I had basely injured. Was the 
great treasure-ship indeed below there, with her guns 
and chain and treasure, as she had sailed from Spain ; 
her decks a garden for the seaweed, her cabin a 
breeding-place for fish, soundless but for the dredg- 
ing water, motionless but for the waving of the 
tangle upon her battlements — that old, populous, 
sea-riding castle, now a reef in Sandag Bay ? Or, 
as I thought it likelier, was this a waif from the 
disaster of the foreign brig — was this shoe-buckle 
bought but the other day and worn by a man of 
my own period in the world's history, hearing the 
same news from day to day, thinking the same 
thoughts, praying, perhaps, in the same temple with 
myself? However it was, I was assailed with dreary 
thoughts ; my uncle's words, ' the dead are down 
there,' echoed in my ears ; and though I determined 
to dive once more, it was with a strong repugnance 
that I stepped forward to the margin of the rocks. 

A great change passed at that moment over the 
appearance of the bay. It was no more that clear, 
visible interior, like a house roofed with glass, where 
the green, submarine sunshine slept so stilly. A 
breeze, I suppose, had flawed the surface, and a sort 
of trouble and blackness filled its bosom, where 
flashes of light and clouds of shadow tossed con- 
fusedly together. Even the terrace below obscurely 
rocked and quivered. It seemed a graver thing to 
venture on this place of ambushes ; and when I 
leaped into the sea the second time it was with a 
quaking in my soul. 
142 



IN SANDAG BAY 

I secured myself as at first, and groped among the 
waving tangle. All that met my touch was cold and 
soft and gluey. The thicket was alive with crabs 
and lobsters, trundling to and fro lopsidedly, and I 
had to harden my heart against the horror of their 
carrion neighbourhood. On all sides I could feel 
the grain and the clefts of hard, living stone ; no 
planks, no iron, not a sign of any wreck ; the Espirito 
Santo was not there. I remember I had almost a 
sense of relief in my disappointment, and I was 
about ready to leave go, when something happened 
that sent me to the surface with my heart in my 
mouth. I had already stayed somewhat late over 
my explorations ; the current was freshening with 
the change of the tide, and Sandag Bay was no 
longer a safe place for a single swimmer. Well, just 
at the last moment there came a sudden flush of 
current, dredging through the tangles like a wave. 
I lost one hold, was flung sprawling on my side, and, 
instinctively grasping for a fresh support, my fingers 
closed on something hard and cold. I think I knew 
at that moment what it was. At least I instantly 
left hold of the tangle, leaped for the surface, and 
clambered out next moment on the friendly rocks 
with the bone of a man's leg in my grasp. 

Mankind is a material creature, slow to think and 
dull to perceive connections. The grave, the wreck 
of the brig, and the rusty shoe-buckle were surely 
plain advertisements. A child might have read 
their dismal story, and yet it was not until I touched 
that actual piece of mankind that the full horror of 

143 



THE MERRY MEN 

the charnel ocean burst upon my spirit. I laid the 
bone beside the buckle, picked up my clothes, and 
ran as I was along the rocks towards the human 
shore. I could not be far enough from the spot ; no 
fortune was vast enough to tempt me back again. 
The bones of the drowned dead should henceforth 
roll undisturbed by me, whether on tangle or minted 
gold. But as soon as I trod the good earth again, 
and had covered my nakedness against the sun, I 
knelt down over against the ruins of the brig, and 
out of the fulness of my heart prayed long and 
passionately for all poor souls upon the sea. A 
generous prayer is never presented in vain ; the 
petition may be refused, but the petitioner is always, 
I believe, rewarded by some gracious visitation. 
The horror, at least, was lifted from my mind ; I 
could look with calm of spirit on that great bright 
creature, God's ocean ; and as I set off homeward 
up the rough sides of Aros, nothing remained of my 
concern beyond a deep determination to meddle no 
more with the spoils of wrecked vessels or the 
treasures of the dead. 

I was already some way up the hill before I 
paused to breathe and look behind me. The sight 
that met my eyes was doubly strange. 

For, first, the storm that I had foreseen was now 
advancing with almost tropical rapidity. The whole 
surface of the sea had been dulled from its con- 
spicuous brightness to an ugly hue of corrugated 
lead ; already in the distance the white waves, the 
' skipper's daughters,' had begun to flee before a 
144 






IN SANDAG HAY 

breeze that was still insensible on Aros ; unci already 
along- tbe curve of Sandag Bay there was a splashing 
run of sea that I could hear from where I stood. 
The change upon the sky was even more remarkable. 
There had begun to arise out of the south-west a 
huge and solid continent of scowling cloud ; here 
and there, through rents in its contexture, the sun 
still poured a sheaf of spreading rays ; and here and 
there, from all its edges, vast inky streamers lay 
forth along the yet unclouded sky. The menace 
was express and imminent. Even as I gazed, the 
sun was blotted out. At any moment the tempest 
might fall upon Aros in its might. 

The suddenness of this change of weather so fixed 
my eyes on heaven that it was some seconds before 
they alighted on the bay, mapped out below my feet, 
and robbed a moment later of the sun. The knoll 
which I had just surmounted overflanked a little 
amphitheatre of lower hillocks sloping towards the 
sea, and beyond that the yellow arc of beach and 
the whole extent of Sandag Bay. It was a scene on 
which I had often looked down, but where I had 
never before beheld a human figure. I had but just 
turned my back upon it and left it empty, and my 
wonder may be fancied when I saw a boat and 
several men in that deserted spot. The boat was 
lying by the rocks. A pair of fellows, bareheaded, 
with their sleeves rolled up, and one with a boat- 
hook, kept her with difficulty to her moorings, for 
the current was growing brisker every moment. A 
little way off upon the ledge two men in black 
8— k 145 



THE MERRY MEN 

clothes, whom I judged to be superior in rank, laid 
their heads together over some task which at first I 
did not understand, but a second after I had made it 
out — they were taking bearings with the compass ; 
and just then I saw one of them unroll a sheet of 
paper and lay his finger down, as though identifying 
features in a map. Meanwhile a third was walking 
to and fro, poking among the rocks and peering over 
the edge into the water. While I was still watch- 
ing them with the stupefaction of surprise, my mind 
hardly yet able to work on what my eyes reported, 
this third person suddenly stooped and summoned 
his companions with a cry so loud that it reached 
my ears upon the hill. The others ran to him, even 
dropping the compass in their hurry, and I could see 
the bone and the shoe-buckle going from hand to 
hand, causing the most unusual gesticulations of 
surprise and interest. Just then I could hear the 
seamen crying from the boat, and saw them point 
westward to that cloud continent which was ever 
the more rapidly unfurling its blackness over heaven. 
The others seemed to consult ; but the danger was 
too pressing to be braved, and they bundled into 
the boat carrying my relics with them, and set forth 
out of the bay with all speed of oars. 

I made no more ado about the matter, but turned 
and ran for the house. Whoever these men were, it 
was fit my uncle should be instantly informed. It 
was not then altogether too late in the day for 
a descent of the Jacobites ; and maybe Prince 
Charlie, whom I knew my uncle to detest, was one 
146 



IN SANDAG BAY 

of the three superiors whom I had seen upon the 
roek. Yet as I ran, leaping from rock to roek, and 
turned the matter loosely in my mind, this theory 
grew ever the longer the less welcome to my reason. 
The compass, the map, the interest awakened by 
the buckle, and the conduct of that one among the 
strangers who had looked so often below him in the 
water, all seemed to point to a different explanation 
of their presence on that outlying, obscure islet of the 
western sea. The Madrid historian, the search insti- 
tuted by Dr. Robertson, the bearded stranger with 
the rings, my own fruitless search that very morning 
in the deep water of Sandag Bay, ran together, 
piece by piece, in my memory, and I made sure that 
these strangers must be Spaniards in quest of ancient 
treasure and the lost ship of the Armada. But the 
people living in outlying islands, such as Aros, are 
answerable for their own security ; there is none 
near by to protect or even to help them ; and the 
presence in such a spot of a crew of foreign ad- 
venturers — poor, greedy, and most likely lawless — 
rilled me with apprehensions for my uncle's money, 
and even for the safety of his daughter. I was still 
wondering how we were to get rid of them when I 
came, all breathless, to the top of Aros. The whole 
world was shadowed over ; only in the extreme east, 
on a hill of the mainland, one last gleam of sunshine 
lingered like a jewel ; rain had begun to fall, not 
heavily, but in great drops ; the sea was rising with 
each moment, and already a band of white encircled 
Aros and the nearer coasts of Grisapol. The boat 

147 



THE MERRY MEN 

was still pulling seaward, but I now became aware 
of what had been hidden from me lower down — a 
large, heavily-sparred, handsome schooner, lying-to 
at the south end of Aros. Since I had not seen her 
in the morning when I had looked around so closely 
at the signs of the weather, and upon these lone 
waters where a sail was rarely visible, it was clear 
she must have lain last night behind the uninhabited 
Eilean Gour, and this proved conclusively that she 
was manned by strangers to our coast, for that 
anchorage, though good enough to look at, is little 
better than a trap for ships. With such ignorant 
sailors upon so wild a coast, the coming gale was 
not unlikely to bring death upon its wings. 



CHAPTER IV 

THE GALE 

1 found my uncle at the gable-end, watching the 
signs of the weather, with a pipe in his fingers. 

' Uncle,' said I, ' there were men ashore at Sandag 
13ay ' 

L had no time to go further ; indeed, I not only 
forgot my words, but even my weariness, so strange 
was the effect on Uncle Gordon. He dropped his 
pipe and fell back against the end of the house with 
his jaw fallen, his eyes staring, and his long face as 
white as paper. We must have looked at one 
another silently for a quarter of a minute, before he 
148 



THE GALE 

made answer in this extraordinary fashion : ' Had he 
a hair kep on ? ' 

I knew as well as if I had been there that the 
man who now lay buried at Sandag had worn a 
hairy cap, and that he had come ashore alive. For 
the first and only time I lost toleration for the man 
who was my benefactor and the father of the woman 
I hoped to call my wife. 

' These were living men,' said I, ' perhaps Jacob- 
ites, perhaps the French, perhaps pirates, perhaps 
adventurers come here to seek the Spanish treasure- 
ship ; but, whatever they may be, dangerous at least 
to your daughter and my cousin. As for your own 
guilty terrors, man, the dead sleeps well where you 
have laid him. I stood this morning by his grave ; 
he will not wake before the trump of doom.' 

My kinsman looked upon me, blinking, while I 
spoke ; then he fixed his eyes for a little on the 
ground, and pulled his fingers foolishly ; but it was 
plain that he was past the power of speech. 

' Come,' said I ; ' you must think for others. 
You must come up the hill with me and see this 
ship.' 

He obeyed without a word or a look, following 
slowly after my impatient strides. The spring- 
seemed to have gone out of his body, and he 
scrambled heavily up and down the rocks, instead 
of leaping, as he was wont, from one to another. 
Nor could I, for all my cries, induce him to make 
better haste. Only once he replied to me com- 
plainingly, and like one in bodily pain : ' Ay, ay, 

149 



THE MERRY MEN 

man, I 'm coming.' Long before we had reached 
the top I had no other thought for him but pity. 
If the crime had been monstrous, the punishment 
was in proportion. 

At last we emerged above the sky-line of the hill, 
and could see around us. All was black and stormy 
to the eye ; the last gleam of sun had vanished ; a 
wind had sprung up, not yet high, but gusty and 
unsteady to the point ; the rain, on the other hand, 
had ceased. Short as was the interval, the sea 
already ran vastly higher than when I had stood 
there last ; already it had begun to break over some 
of the outward reefs, and already it moaned aloud 
in the sea-caves of Aros. I looked, at first, in vain 
for the schooner. 

' There she is,' I said at last. But her new posi- 
tion, and the course she was now lying, puzzled me. 
' They cannot mean to beat to sea,' I cried. 

' That 's what they mean,' said my uncle, with 
something like joy ; and just then the schooner went 
about and stood upon another tack, which put 
the question beyond the reach of doubt. These 
strangers, seeing a gale on hand, had thought first 
of sea-room. With the wind that threatened, in 
these reef-sown waters and contending against so 
violent a stream of tide, their course was certain 
death. 

' Good God ! ' said I, ' they are all lost' 

'Ay,' returned my uncle, 'a' — a' lost. They 
hadna a chance but to rin for Kyle Dona. The gate 
they 're gaun the noo, they couldna win through 
150 



THE GALE 

an the muckle deil were there to pilot them. Eh, 
man,' he continued, touching me on the sleeve, 
' it 's a braw nicht for a shipwreck ! Twa in ae 
twalmonth ! Eh, but the Merry Men '11 dance 
bonny ! ' 

I looked at him, and it was then that I began to 
fancy him no longer in his right mind. He was 
peering up to me, as if for sympathy, a timid joy 
in his eyes. All that had passed between us was 
already forgotten in the prospect of this fresh 
disaster. 

' If it were not too late,' I cried with indigna- 
tion, ' I would take the coble and go out to warn 
them.' 

' Na, na,' he protested, ' ye maunna interfere ; ye 
maunna meddle wi' the like o' that. It 's His ' — 
doffing his bonnet — ' His wull. And, eh, man ! but 
it 's a braw nicht for 't ! ' 

Something like fear began to creep into my soul ; 
and, reminding him that I had not yet dined, I pro- 
posed we should return to the house. But no ; 
nothing would tear him from his place of outlook. 

'I maun see the hail thing, man, Cherlie,' he 
explained ; and then as the schooner went about a 
second time, ' Eh, but they han'le her bonny ! ' he 
cried. ' The Christ-Anna was naething to this.' 

Already the men on board the schooner must 
have begun to realise some part, but not yet the 
twentieth, of the dangers that environed their 
doomed ship. At every lull of the capricious wind 
they must have seen how fast the current swept 

151 



THE MERRY MEN 

them back. Each tack was made shorter, as they 
saw how little it prevailed. Every moment the 
rising swell began to boom and foam upon another 
sunken reef; and ever and again a breaker would fall 
in sounding ruin under the very bows of her, and 
the brown reef and streaming tangle appear in the 
hollow of the wave. I tell you, they had to stand 
to their tackle : there was no idle man aboard that 
ship, God knows. It was upon the progress of a 
scene so horrible to any human-hearted man that 
my misguided uncle now pored and gloated like a 
connoisseur. As I turned to go down the hill, he 
was lying on his belly on the summit, with his hands 
stretched forth and clutching in the heather. He 
seemed rejuvenated, mind and body. 

When I got back to the house already dismally 
affected, I was still more sadly downcast at the 
sight of Mary. She had her sleeves rolled up over 
her strong arms, and was quietly making bread. I 
got a bannock from the dresser and sat down to eat 
it in silence. 

' Are ye wearied, lad ? ' she asked after a while. 

' I am not so much wearied, Mary,' I replied, 
getting on my feet, ' as I am weary of delay, and 
perhaps of Aros too. You know me well enough to 
judge me fairly, say what I like. AYell, Mary, you 
may be sure of this : you had better be anywhere 
but here.' 

' I '11 be sure of one thing,' she returned : * I '11 be 
where my duty is.' 

' You forget, you have a duty to yourself,' I said. 
152 



THE GALE 

' Ay, man,' she replied, pounding at the dough ; 
' will you have found that in the Bible, now ? ' 

' Mary/ I said solemnly, ' you must not laugh at 
me just now. God knows I am in no heart for 
laughing. If we could get your father with us, 
it would be best ; but with him or without him, 
I want you far away from here, my girl ; for your 
own sake, and for mine, ay, and for your father's 
too, I want you far — far away from here. I came 
with other thoughts ; I came here as a man comes 
home ; now it is all changed, and I have no desire 
nor hope but to flee — for that's the word — flee, like 
a bird out of the fowler's snare, from this accursed 
island.' 

She had stopped her work by this time. 

' And do you think, now,' said she, ' do you think, 
now, I have neither eyes nor ears ? Do ye think I 
havena broken my heart to have these braws (as he 
calls them, God forgive him !) thrown into the sea ? 
Do ye think I have lived with him, day in, day out, 
and not seen what you saw in an hour or two ? No,' 
she said, ' 1 know there 's wrong in it ; what wrong, 
I neither know nor want to know. There was 
never an ill thing made better by meddling, that I 
could hear of. But, my lad, you must never ask me 
to leave my father. While the breath is in his body 
1 11 be with him. And he 's not long for here, 
either : that I can tell you, Charlie — he 's not long 
for here. The mark is on his brow ; and better so 
— maybe better so.' 

I was a while silent, not knowing what to say ; 

153 



THE MERRY MEN 

and when I roused my head at last to speak, she got 
before me. 

'Charlie,' she said, 'what's right for me needna 
be right for you. There 's sin upon this house and 
trouble ; you are a stranger ; take your things upon 
your back and go your ways to better places and to 
better folk, and if you were ever minded to come 
back, though it were twenty years syne, you would 
find me aye waiting.' 

' Mary Ellen,' I said, ' I asked you to be my wife, 
and you said as good as yes. That 's done for good. 
Wherever you are, I am ; as I shall answer to 
my God.' 

As I said the words the wind suddenly burst out 
raving, and then seemed to stand still and shudder 
round the house of Aros. It was the first squall, or 
prologue, of the coming tempest, and as we started 
and looked about us, we found that a gloom, like 
the approach of evening, had settled round the 
house. 

' God pity all poor folks at sea ! ' she said. 
' We '11 see no more of my father till the morrow's 
morning.' 

And then she told me, as we sat by the fire and 
hearkened to the rising gusts, of how this change 
had fallen upon my uncle. All last winter he had 
been dark and fitful in his mind. Whenever the 
Roost ran high, or, as Mary said, whenever the 
Merry Men Avere dancing, he would lie out for 
hours together on the Head, if it were night, or on 
the top of Aros by day, watching the tumult of the 
154 



THE GALE 

sea, and sweeping the horizon for a sail. After 
February the 10th, when the wealth-bringing wreck 
was cast ashore at Sandag, he had been at first 
unnaturally gay, and his excitement had never fallen 
in degree, but only changed in kind from dark to 
darker. He neglected his work, and kept Rorie idle. 
They two would speak together by the hour at the 
gable-end, in guarded tones and with an air of 
secrecy, and almost of guilt ; and if she questioned 
either, as at first she sometimes did, her inquiries 
were put aside with confusion. Since Rorie had 
first remarked the fish that hung about the ferry, 
his master had never set foot but once upon the 
mainland of the Ross. That once — it was in the 
height of the springs — he had passed dryshod while 
the tide was out ; but, having lingered over-long on 
the far side, found himself cut off from Aros by the 
returning waters. It was with a shriek of agony 
that he had leaped across the gut, *and he had 
reached home thereafter in a fever-fit of fear. A 
fear of the sea, a constant haunting thought of the 
sea, appeared in his talk and devotions, and even in 
his looks when he was silent. 

Rorie alone came in to supper ; but a little later 
my uncle appeared, took a bottle under his arm, put 
some bread in his pocket, and set forth again to his 
outlook, followed this time by Rorie. I heard that 
the schooner was losing ground, but the crew were 
still fighting every inch with hopeless ingenuity and 
courage ; and the news filled my mind with black- 
ness. 

155 



THE MERRY MEN 

A little after sundown the full fury of the gale 
broke forth, such a gale as I have never seen in 
summer, nor, seeing how swiftly it had come, even 
in winter. Mary and I sat in silence, the house 
quaking overhead, the tempest howling without, the 
fire between us sputtering with raindrops. Our 
thoughts were far away with the poor fellows on 
the schooner, or my not less unhappy uncle, house- 
less on the promontory ; and yet ever and again we 
were startled back to ourselves, when the wind 
would rise and strike the gable like a solid body, 
or suddenly fall and draw away, so that the fire 
leaped into flame and our hearts bounded in our 
sides. Now the storm in its might would seize and 
shake the four corners of the roof, roaring like Levi- 
athan in anger. Anon, in a lull, cold eddies of 
tempest moved shudderingly in the room, lifting 
the hair upon our heads and passing between us 
as we sat. And again the wind would break forth 
in a chorus of melancholy sounds, hooting Ioav in 
the chimney, wailing with flutelike softness round 
the house. 

It was perhaps eight o'clock when Rorie came in 
and pulled me mysteriously to the door. My uncle, 
it appeared, had frightened even his constant com- 
rade ; and Rorie, uneasy at his extravagance, prayed 
me to come out and share the watch. I hastened to 
do as I was asked ; the more readily as, what with 
fear and horror, and the electrical tension of the 
night, I was myself restless and disposed for action. 
I told Mary to be under no alarm, for I should 
156 



THE GALE 

be a safeguard on her father ; and wrapping myself 
warmly in a plaid, I followed Rorie into the open 
air. 

The night, though we were so little past mid- 
summer, was as dark as January. Intervals of a 
groping twilight alternated with spells of utter black- 
ness ; and it was impossible to trace the reason of 
these changes in the flying horror of the sky. The 
wind blew the breath out of a man's nostrils ; all 
heaven seemed to thunder overhead like one huge 
sail ; and when there fell a momentary lull on Aros, 
we could hear the gusts dismally sweeping in the 
distance. Over all the lowlands of the Ross the 
wind must have blown as fierce as on the open sea ; 
and God only knows the uproar that was raging 
around the head of Ben Kyaw. Sheets of mingled 
spray and rain were driven in our faces. All round 
the isle of Aros, the surf, with an incessant, hammer- 
ing thunder, beat upon the reefs and beaches. Now 
louder in one place, now lower in another, like the 
combinations of orchestral music, the constant mass 
of sound was hardly varied for a moment. And loud 
above all this hurly-burly I could hear the changeful 
voices of the Roost and the intermittent roaring of 
the Merry Men. At that hour there flashed into 
my mind the reason of the name that they were 
called. For the noise of them seemed almost mirth- 
ful, as it out-topped the other noises of the night ; 
or if not mirthful, yet instinct with a portentous 
joviality. Nay, and it seemed even human. As 
when savage men have drunk away their reason, and, 

157 



THE MERRY MEN 

discarding speech, bawl together in their madness 
by the hour ; so, to my ears, these deadly breakers 
shouted by Aros in the night. 

Arm in arm, and staggering against the wind, 
Rorie and I won every yard of ground with conscious 
effort. We slipped on the wet sod, we fell together 
sprawling on the rocks. Bruised, drenched, beaten, 
and breathless, it must have taken us near half an 
hour to get from the house down to the Head that 
overlooks the Roost. There, it seemed, was my 
uncle's favourite observatory. Right in the face of 
it, where the cliff is highest and most sheer, a hump 
of earth, like a parapet, makes a place of shelter from 
the common winds, where a man may sit in quiet and 
see the tide and the mad billows contending at his 
feet. As he might look down from the window of a 
house upon some street disturbance, so, from this 
post, he looks down upon the tumbling of the Merry 
Men. On such a night, of course, he peers upon a 
world of blackness, where the waters wheel and boil, 
where the waves joust together with the noise of an 
explosion, and the foam towers and vanishes in the 
twinkling of an eye. Never before had I seen the 
Merry Men thus violent. The fury, height, and 
transiency of their spoutings was a thing to be seen 
and not recounted. High over our heads on the 
cliff rose their white columns in the darkness ; and 
the same instant, like phantoms, they were gone. 
Sometimes three at a time would thus aspire and 
vanish ; sometimes a gust took them, and the spray 
would fall about us, heavy as a wave. And yet the 
158 



THE GALE 

spectacle was rather maddening in its levity than 
impressive by its force. Thought was beaten down 
by the confounding uproar ; a gleeful vacancy pos- 
sessed the brains of men, a state akin to madness ; 
and I found myself at times following the dance of 
the Merry Men as it were a tune upon a jigging 
instrument. 

I first caught sight of my uncle when we were still 
some yards away in one of the flying glimpses of 
twilight that chequered the pitch darkness of the 
night. He was standing up behind the parapet, his 
head thrown back and the bottle to his mouth. As 
he put it down, he saw and recognised us with a toss 
of one hand fleeringly above his head. 

' Has he been drinking ? ' shouted I to Rorie. 

' He will aye be drunk when the wind blaws,' 
returned Rorie in the same high key, and it was 
all that I could do to hear him. 

' Then — was he so — in February ? ' I inquired. 

Rorie's ' Ay ' was a cause of joy to me. The 
murder, then, had not sprung in cold blood from 
calculation ; it was an act of madness no more to 
be condemned than to be pardoned. My uncle was 
a dangerous madman, if you will, but he was not 
cruel and base as I had feared. Yet what a scene 
for a carouse, what an incredible vice, was this that 
the poor man had chosen ! I have always thought 
drunkenness a wild and almost fearful pleasure, rather 
demoniacal than human ; but drunkenness, out here 
in the roaring blackness, on the edge of a cliff above 
that hell of waters, the man's head spinning like the 

159 



THE MERRY MEN 

Roost, his foot tottering on the edge of death, his 
ear watching for the signs of shipwreck, surely that, 
if it were credible in any one, was morally impossible 
in a man like my uncle, whose mind was set upon 
a damnatory creed and haunted by the darkest super- 
stitions. Yet so it was ; and, as we reached the 
bight of shelter and could breathe again, I saw 
the man's eyes shining in the night with an unholy 
glimmer. 

' Eh, Charlie man, it 's grand ! ' he cried. ' See 
to them ! ' he continued, dragging me to the edge of 
the abyss from whence arose that deafening clamour 
and those clouds of spray ; ' see to them dancin', 
man ! Is that no wicked ? ' 

He pronounced the word with gusto, and I thought 
it suited with the scene. 

' They 're yowlin' for thon schooner,' he went on, 
his thin, insane voice clearly audible in the shelter of 
the bank, ' an' she 's comin' aye nearer, aye nearer, 
aye nearer an' nearer an' nearer ; an' they ken't, the 
folk kens it, they ken weel it 's by wi' them. Charlie 
lad, they 're a' drunk in yon schooner, a' dozened wi' 
drink. They were a' drunk in the Christ-Anna at 
the hinder end. There 's nane could droon at sea 
wantin' the brandy. Hoot awa, what do you ken ? ' 
with a sudden blast of anger. ' I tell ye, it canna 
be ; they daurna droon withoot it. Hae,' holding 
out the bottle, ' tak' a sowp.' 

I was about to refuse, but Rorie touched me as if 
in warning ; and indeed I had already thought better 
of the movement. I took the bottle, therefore, and 
1 60 






THE GALE 

not only drank freely myself, but contrived to spill 
even more as I was doing so. It was pure spirit, and 
almost strangled me to swallow. My kinsman did 
not observe the loss, but, once more throwing back 
his head, drained the remainder to the dregs. Then, 
with a loud laugh, he cast the bottle forth among the 
Merry Men, who seemed to leap up, shouting to 
receive it. 

' Hae, bairns ! ' he cried, ' there 's your hansel. 
Ye '11 get bonnier nor that or morning. ' 

Suddenly, out in the black night before us, and not 
two hundred yards away, we heard, at a moment 
when the wind was silent, the clear note of a human 
voice. Instantly the wind swept howling down upon 
the Head, and the Roost bellowed, and churned, and 
danced with a new fury. But we had heard the 
sound, and we knew, with agony, that this was the 
doomed ship now close on ruin, and that what we 
had heard was the voice of her master issuing his 
last command. Crouching together on the edge, we 
waited, straining every sense, for the inevitable end. 
It was long, however, and to us it seemed like ages, 
ere the schooner suddenly appeared for one brief 
instant, relieved against a tower of glimmering foam. 
I still see her reefed mainsail flapping loose, as the 
boom fell heavily across the deck ; I still see the 
black outline of the hull, and still think I can dis- 
tinguish the figure of a man stretched upon the tiller. 
Yet the whole sight we had of her passed swifter 
than lightning ; the very wave that disclosed her 
fell burying her for ever ; the mingled cry of many 
8— l 161 



THE MERRY MEN 

voices at the point of death rose and was quenched 
in the roaring of the Merry Men. And with that 
the tragedy was at an end. The strong ship, with 
all her gear, and the lamp perhaps still burning in 
the cabin, the lives of so many men, precious surely 
to others, dear, at least, as heaven to themselves, 
had all, in that one moment, gone down into the 
surging waters. They were gone like a dream. And 
the wind still ran and shouted, and the senseless 
waters in the Roost still leaped and tumbled as 
before. 

How long we lay there together, we three, speech- 
less and motionless, is more than I can tell, but it 
must have been for long. At length, one by one, and 
almost mechanically, we crawled back into the shelter 
of the bank. As I lay against the parapet, wholly 
wretched and not entirely master of my mind, I 
could hear my kinsman maundering to himself in an 
altered and melancholy mood. Now he would repeat 
to himself with maudlin iteration, ' Sic a fecht as 
they had — sic a sair fecht as they had, puir lads, 
puir lads ! ' and anon he would bewail that ' a' the 
gear was as gude 's tint,' because the ship had gone 
down among the Merry Men instead of stranding on 
the shore ; and throughout, the name — the Christ- 
Anna — would come and go in his divagations, pro- 
nounced with shuddering awe. The storm all this 
time was rapidly abating. In half an hour the wind 
had fallen to a breeze, and the change was ac- 
companied or caused by a heavy, cold, and plumping 
rain. I must then have fallen asleep, and when I 
162 



THE GALE 

came to myself, drenched, stiff, and un refreshed, day 
had already broken — grey, wet, discomfortable day ; 
the wind blew in faint and shifting capfuls, the tide 
was out, the Roost was at its lowest, and only the 
strong beating surf round all the coasts of Aros 
remained to witness of the furies of the night. 



CHAPTER V 

A MAN OUT OF THE SEA 

Rorie set out for the house in search of warmth and 
breakfast ; but my uncle was bent upon examining 
the shores of Aros, and I felt it a part of duty to 
accompany him throughout. He was now docile and 
quiet, but tremulous and weak in mind and body ; 
and it Avas with the eagerness of a child that he 
pursued his exploration. He climbed far down upon 
the rocks ; on the beaches he pursued the retreating 
breakers. The merest broken plank or rag of cord- 
age was a treasure in his eyes to be secured at the 
peril of his life. To see him, with weak and stumb- 
ling footsteps, expose himself to the pursuit of the 
surf, or the snares and pitfalls of the weedy rock, 
kept me in a perpetual terror. My arm was ready to 
support him, my hand clutched him by the skirt, 
I helped him to draw his pitiful discoveries beyond 
the reach of the returning wave ; a nurse accompany- 
ing a child of seven would have had no different 
experience. 

Yet, weakened as he was by the reaction from his 

163 



THE MERRY MEN 

madness of the night before, the passions that 
smouldered in his nature were those of a strong 
man. His terror of the sea, although conquered for 
the moment, was still undiminished ; had the sea 
been a lake of living flames he could not have 
shrunk more panically from its touch ; and once 
when his foot slipped and he plunged to the midleg 
into a pool of water, the shriek that came up out of 
his soul was like the cry of death. He sat still for a 
while, panting like a dog, after that ; but his desire 
for the spoils of shipwreck triumphed once more over 
his fears ; once more he tottered among the curded 
foam ; once more he crawled upon the rocks among 
the bursting bubbles ; once more his whole heart 
seemed to be set on driftwood, fit, if it was fit for 
anything, to throw upon the fire. Pleased as he was 
with what he found, he still incessantly grumbled at 
his ill-fortune. 

' Aros,' he said, ' is no' a place for wrecks ava' — no' 
ava'. A' the years I 've dwalt here, this ane maks 
the second ; and the best o' the gear clean tint ! ' 

' Uncle,' said I, for we were now on a stretch of 
open sand, where there was nothing to divert his 
mind, ' I saw you last night, as I never thought to 
see you — you were drunk.' 

' Na, na,' he said, ' no' as bad as that. I had been 
drinking, though. And to tell ye the God's truth, 
it 's a thing I canna mend. There 's nae soberer man 
than me in my ordnar ; but when I hear the wind 
blaw in my lug, it 's my belief that I gang gy te. ' 

'You are a religious man,' I replied, 'and this is sin.' 
164 



A MAN OUT OF THE SEA 

' Ou,' he returned, ' if it wasna sin, I dinna ken 
that I would eare for't. Ye see, man, it's defiance. 
There 's a sair spang o' the auld sin o' the warld in 
yon sea; it's an unchristian business at the best 
o't ; an' whiles when it gets up, an' the wind skreighs 
— the wind an' her are a kind of sib, I 'm thinkin' — 
an' thae Merry Men, the daft callants, blawin' and 
lauchin', and puir souls in the deid-thraws warstlin' 
the leelang nicht wi' their bit ships — weel, it comes 
ower me like a glamour. I 'm a deil, I ken 't. But 
I think naething o' the puir sailor lads ; I 'm wi' the 
sea, I 'm just like ane o' her ain Merry Men.' 

I thought I should touch him in a joint of his 
harness. I turned me towards the sea ; the surf was 
running gaily, wave after wave, with their manes 
blowing behind them, riding one after another up 
the beach, towering, curving, falling one upon another 
on the trampled sand. Without, the salt air, the 
scared gulls, the widespread army of the sea-chargers, 
neighing to each other, as they gathered together to 
the assault of Aros ; and close before us, that line 
on the flat sands, that, with all their number and 
their fury, they might never pass. 

'Thus far shalt thou go,' said I, 'and no farther.' 
And then I quoted as solemnly as I was able a verse 
that I had often before fitted to the chorus of the 
breakers : — 

But yet the Lord, that is on high, 

Is more of might by far 
Than noise of many waters is, 

Or great sea-billows are. 

I6 5 



THE MERRY MEN 

' Ay,' said my kinsman, ' at the hinder end the 
Lord will triumph ; I dinna misdoobt that. But here 
on earth, even silly men-folk daur Him to His face. 
It is no' wise ; I am no' sayin' that it 's wise ; but 
it's the pride of the eye, and it's the lust o' life, an' 
it 's the wale o' pleesures.' 

I said no more, for we had now begun to cross a 
neck of land that lay between us and Sandag ; and 1 
withheld my last appeal to the man's better reason 
till we should stand upon the spot associated with 
his crime. Nor did he pursue the subject ; but he 
walked beside me with a firmer step. The call that 
I had made upon his mind acted like a stimulant, 
and I could see that he had forgotten his search for 
worthless jetsam, in a profound, gloomy, and yet 
stirring train of thought. In three or four minutes 
we had topped the brae and began to go down upon 
Sandag. The wreck had been roughly handled by 
the sea ; the stem had been spun round and dragged 
a little lower down ; and perhaps the stern had been 
forced a little higher, for the two parts now lay 
entirely separate on the beach. When we came to 
the grave I stopped, uncovered my head in the thick 
rain, and, looking my kinsman in the face, addressed 
him. 

'A man,' said I, 'was in God's providence suffered 
to escape from mortal dangers ; he was poor, he was 
naked, he was wet, he was weary, he was a stranger ; 
he had every claim upon the bowels of your com- 
passion ; it may be that he was the salt of the earth, 
holy, helpful, and kind ; it may be he was a man 
1 66 



A MAN OUT OF THE SEA 

laden with iniquities to whom death was the begin- 
ning of torment. I ask you in the sight of Heaven : 
Gordon Darnaway, where is the man for whom 
Christ died?' 

He started visibly at the last words ; but there 
came no answer, and his face expressed no feeling 
but a vague alarm. 

' You were my father's brother,' I continued ; ' you 
have taught me to count your house as if it were my 
father's house ; and we are both sinful men walking 
before the Lord among the sins and dangers of this 
life. It is by our evil that God leads us into good ; 
we sin, I dare not say by His temptation, but I must 
say with His consent ; and to any but the brutish 
man his sins are the beginning of wisdom. God 
has warned you by this crime ; He warns you still 
by the bloody grave between our feet ; and if there 
shall follow no repentance, no improvement, no 
return to Him, what can we look for but the follow- 
ing of some memorable judgment ? ' 

Even as I spoke the words, the eyes of my uncle 
wandered from my face. A change fell upon his 
looks that cannot be described ; his features seemed 
to dwindle in size, the colour faded from his cheeks, 
one hand rose waveringly and pointed over my 
shoulder into the distance, and the oft-repeated name 
fell once more from his lips : ' The Christ- Anna !' 

I turned ; and if I was not appalled to the same 
degree, as I return thanks to Heaven that I had not 
the cause, I was still startled by the sight that met 
my eyes. The form of a man stood upright on the 

167 



THE MERRY MEN 

cabin-hutch of the wrecked ship ; his back was to- 
wards us ; he appeared to be scanning the offing with 
shaded eyes, and his figure was relieved to its full 
height, which was plainly very great, against the sea 
and sky. I have said a thousand times that I am 
not superstitious ; but at that moment, with my 
mind running upon death and sin, the unexplained 
appearance of a stranger on that sea-girt, solitary 
island filled me with a surprise that bordered close 
on terror. It seemed scarce possible that any human 
soul should have come ashore alive in such a sea as 
had raged last night along the coast of Aros ; and 
the only vessel within miles had gone down before 
our eyes among the Merry Men. I was assailed with 
doubts that made suspense unbearable, and, to put 
the matter to the touch at once, stepped forward and 
hailed the figure like a ship. 

He turned about, and I thought he started to be- 
hold us. At this my courage instantly revived, and 
I called and signed to him to draw near, and he, on 
his part, dropped immediately to the sands, and 
began slowly to approach, with many stops and 
hesitations. At each repeated mark of the man's 
uneasiness I grew the more confident myself ; and I 
advanced another step, encouraging him as I did so 
with my head and hand. It was plain the castaway 
had heard indifferent accounts of our island hospit- 
ality ; and indeed, about this time, the people farther 
north had a sorry reputation. 

' Why,' I said, ' the man is black ! ' 

And just at that moment, in a voice that I could 
168 



A MAN OUT OF THE SEA 

scarce have recognised, my kinsman began swearing 
and praying in a mingled stream. I looked at him ; 
he had fallen on his knees, his face was agonised ; 
at each step of the castaway's the pitch of his voice 
rose, the volubility of his utterance and the fervour 
of his language redoubled. I call it prayer, for it 
was addressed to God ; but surely no such ranting 
incongruities were ever before addressed to the 
Creator by a creature : surely if prayer can be a sin, 
this mad harangue was sinful. I ran to my kins- 
man, I seized him by the shoulders, I dragged him 
to his feet. 

' Silence, man,' said I, ' respect your God in words, 
if not in action. Here, on the very scene of your 
transgressions, He sends you an occasion of atone- 
ment. Forward and embrace it : welcome like a 
father yon creature who comes trembling to your 
mercy.' 

With that I tried to force him towards the black ; 
but he felled me to the ground, burst from my grasp, 
leaving the shoulder of his jacket, and fled up the 
hillside towards the top of Aros like a deer. I 
staggered to my feet again, bruised and somewhat 
stunned ; the negro had paused in surprise, perhaps 
in terror, some halfway between me and the wreck ; 
my uncle was already far away, bounding from rock 
to rock ; and I thus found myself torn for a time 
between two duties. But I judged, and I pray 
Heaven that I judged rightly, in favour of the poor 
wretch upon the sands ; his misfortune was at least 
not plainly of his own creation ; it was one, besides, 

169 



THE MERRY MEN 

that I could certainly relieve ; and I had begun by 
that time to regard my uncle as an incurable and 
dismal lunatic. I advanced accordingly towards the 
black, who now awaited my approach with folded 
arms, like one prepared for either destiny. As I 
came nearer, he reached forth his hand with a great 
gesture, such as I had seen from the pulpit, and 
spoke to me in something of a pulpit voice, but not 
a word was comprehensible. I tried him first in 
English, then in Gaelic, both in vain ; so that it was 
clear we must rely upon the tongue of looks and 
gestures. Thereupon I signed to him to follow me, 
which he did readily and with a grave obeisance like 
a fallen king ; all the while there had come no shade 
of alteration in his face, neither of anxiety while he 
was still waiting, nor of relief now that he was re- 
assured ; if he were a slave, as I supposed, I could 
not but judge he must have fallen from some high 
place in his own country, and, fallen as he was, I 
could not but admire his bearing. As we passed the 
grave, I paused and raised my hands and eyes to 
heaven in token of respect and sorrow for the dead ; 
and he, as if in answer, bowed low and spread his 
hands abroad ; it was a strange motion, but done like 
a thing of common custom ; and I supposed it was 
ceremonial in the land from which he came. At the 
same time he pointed to my uncle, whom we could 
just see perched upon a knoll, and touched his head 
to indicate that he was mad. 

We took the long way round the shore, for I 
feared to excite my uncle if we struck across the 
170 



A MAN OUT OF THE SEA 

island ; and as we walked, I had time enough to 
mature the little dramatic exhibition by which I 
hoped to satisfy my doubts. Accordingly, pausing 
on a rock, I proceeded to imitate before the negro 
the action of the man whom I had seen the day 
before taking bearings with the compass at Sandag. 
He understood me at once, and, taking the imitation 
out of my hands, showed me where the boat was, 
pointed out seaward as if to indicate the position of 
the schooner, and then down along the edge of the 
rock with the words ' Espirito Santo,' strangely pro- 
nounced, but clear enough for recognition. I had 
thus been right in my conjecture ; the pretended 
historical inquiry had been but a cloak for treasure- 
hunting ; the man who had played on Dr. Robertson 
was the same as the foreigner who visited Grisapol 
in spring, and now, with many others, lay dead 
under the Roost of Aros : there had their greed 
brought them, there should their bones be tossed for 
evermore. In the meantime the black continued his 
imitation of the scene, now looking up skyward as 
though watching the approach of the storm ; now, 
in the character of a seaman, waving the rest to 
come aboard ; now as an officer, running along the 
rock and entering the boat ; and anon bending over 
imaginary oars with the air of a hurried boatman ; 
but all with the same solemnity of manner, so that 
I was never even moved to smile. Lastly, he in- 
dicated to me, by a pantomime not to be described 
in words, how he himself had gone up to examine 
the stranded wreck, and, to his grief and indignation, 

171 



THE MERRY MEN 

had been deserted by his comrades ; and thereupon 
folded his arms once more, and stooped his head, like 
one accepting fate. 

The mystery of his presence being thus solved for 
me, I explained to him by means of a sketch the fate 
of the vessel and of all aboard her. He showed no 
surprise nor sorrow, and, with a sudden lifting of 
his open hand, seemed to dismiss his former friends 
or masters (whichever they had been) into God's 
pleasure. Respect came upon me and grew stronger 
the more I observed him ; I saw he had a powerful 
mind and a sober and severe character, such as I 
loved to commune with ; and before we reached the 
house of Aros I had almost forgotten, and wholly 
forgiven him, his uncanny colour. 

To Mary I told all that had passed without sup- 
pression, though I own my heart failed me ; but I 
did wrong to doubt her sense of justice. 

' You did the right,' she said. ' God's will be 
done.' And she set out meat for us at once. 

As soon as I was satisfied, I bade Rorie keep an 
eye upon the castaway, who was still eating, and set 
forth again myself to find my uncle. I had not gone 
far before I saw him sitting in the same place, upon 
the very topmost knoll, and seemingly in the same 
attitude as when I had last observed him. From 
that point, as I have said, the most of Aros and the 
neighbouring Ross would be spread below him like 
a map ; and it was plain that he kept a bright look- 
out in all directions, for my head had scarcely risen 
above the summit of the first ascent before he had 
172 



A MAN OUT OF THE SEA 

leaped to his feet and turned as if to face me. I 
hailed him at once, as well as I was able, in the same 
tones and words as I had often used before, when I 
had come to summon him to dinner. He made not 
so much as a movement in reply. I passed on a 
little farther, and again tried parley, with the same 
result. But when I began a second time to advance, 
his insane fears blazed up again, and still in dead 
silence, but with incredible speed, he began to flee 
from before me along the rocky summit of the hill. 
An hour before he had been dead weary, and I had 
been comparatively active. But now his strength 
was recruited by the fervour of insanity, and it 
would have been vain for me to dream of pursuit. 
Nay, the very attempt, I thought, might have in- 
flamed his terrors, and thus increased the miseries of 
our position. And I had nothing left but to turn 
homeward and make my sad report to Mary. 

She heard it, as she had heard the first, with a 
concerned composure, and, bidding me lie down and 
take that rest of which I stood so much in need, set 
forth herself in quest of her misguided father. At 
that age it would have been a strange thing that put 
me from either meat or sleep ; I slept long and deep ; 
and it was already long past noon before I awoke and 
came downstairs into the kitchen. Mary, Rorie, and 
the black castaway were seated about the fire in 
silence ; and I could see that Mary had been weep- 
ing. There was cause enough, as I soon learned, for 
tears. First she, and then Rorie, had been forth to 
seek my uncle ; each in turn had found him perched 

173 



THE MERRY MEN 

upon the hill-top, and from each in turn he had 
silently and swiftly fled. Rorie had tried to chase 
him, but in vain ; madness lent a new vigour to his 
bounds ; he sprang from rock to rock over the widest 
gullies ; he scoured like the wind along the hill-tops ; 
he doubled and twisted like a hare before the dogs ; 
and Rorie at length gave in ; and the last that he 
saw, my uncle was seated as before upon the crest 
of Aros. Even during the hottest excitement of the 
chase, even when the fleet-footed servant had come, 
for a moment, very near to capture him, the poor 
lunatic had uttered not a sound. He fled, and he 
was silent, like a beast ; and this silence had terrified 
his pursuer. 

There was something heart-breaking in the situa- 
tion. How to capture the madman, how to feed 
him in the meanwhile, and what to do with him 
when he was captured, were the three difficulties 
that we had to solve. 

'The black,' said I, 'is the cause of this attack. 
It may even be his presence in the house that keeps 
my uncle on the hill. We have done the fair thing ; 
he has been fed and warmed under this roof; now I 
propose that Rorie put him across the bay in the 
coble, and take him through the Ross as far as 
Grisapol.' 

In this proposal Mary heartily concurred ; and 
bidding the black follow us, we all three descended 
to the pier. Certainly, Heaven's will was declared 
against Gordon Darnaway ; a thing had happened, 
never paralleled before in Aros; during the storm, 
174 



A MAN OUT OF THE SEA 

the coble had broken loose, and, striking on the 
rough splinters of the pier, now lay in four feet of 
water with one side stove in. Three days of work 
at least would be required to make her float. But I 
was not to be beaten. I led the whole party round 
to where the gut was narrowest, swam to the other 
side, and called to the black to follow me. He 
signed, with the same clearness and quiet as before, 
that he knew not the art ; and there was truth 
apparent in his signals, it would have occurred to 
none of us to doubt his truth ; and that hope being 
over, we must all go back even as we came to the 
house of Aros, the negro walking in our midst with- 
out embarrassment. 

All we could do that day was to make one more 
attempt to communicate with the unhappy madman. 
Again he was visible on his perch ; again he fled in 
silence. But food and a great cloak were at least 
left for his comfort ; the rain, besides, had cleared 
away, and the night promised to be even warm. 
We might compose ourselves, we thought, until the 
morrow ; rest was the chief requisite, that we might 
be strengthened for unusual exertions ; and as none 
cared to talk, we separated at an early hour. 

I lay long awake, planning a campaign for the 
morrow. I was to place the black on the side of 
Sandag, whence he should head my uncle towards 
the house ; Rorie in the west, I on the east, were to 
complete the cordon, as best we might. It seemed 
to me, the more I recalled the configuration of the 
island, that it should be possible, though hard, to 

175 



THE MERRY MEN 

force him down upon the low ground along Aros 
Bay ; and once there, even with the strength of his 
madness, ultimate escape was hardly to be feared. 
It was on his terror of the black that I relied ; for I 
made sure, however he might run, it would not be in 
the direction of the man whom he supposed to have 
returned from the dead, and thus one point of the 
compass at least would be secure. 

When at length I fell asleep, it was to be awak- 
ened shortly after by a dream of wrecks, black men, 
and submarine adventure ; and I found myself so 
shaken and fevered that I arose, descended the stair, 
and stepped out before the house. Within, Rorie 
and the black were asleep together in the kitchen ; 
outside was a wonderful clear night of stars, with 
here and there a cloud still hanging, last stragglers 
of the tempest. It was near the top of the flood, 
and the Merry Men were roaring in the windless 
quiet of the night. Never, not even in the height of 
the tempest, had I heard their song with greater 
awe. Now, when the winds were gathered home, 
when the deep was dandling itself back into its 
summer slumber, and when the stars rained their 
gentle light over land and sea, the voice of these 
tide-breakers was still raised for havoc. They 
seemed, indeed, to be a part of the world's evil and 
the tragic side of life. Nor were their meaningless 
vociferations the only sounds that broke the silence 
of the night. For I could hear, now shrill and thrill- 
ing and now almost drowned, the note of a human 
voice that accompanied the uproar of the Roost. I 
176 



A MAN OUT OF THE SEA 

knew it for my kinsman's ; and a great fear fell upon 
me of God's judgments, and the evil in the world. 
I went back again into the darkness of the house as 
into a place of shelter, and lay long upon my bed, 
pondering these mysteries. 

It was late when I again woke, and I leaped into 
my clothes and hurried to the kitchen. No one was 
there ; Korie and the black had both stealthily 
departed long before ; and my heart stood still at 
the discovery. I could rely on Rorie's heart, but I 
placed no trust in his discretion. If he had thus set 
out without a word, he was plainly bent upon some 
service to my uncle. But what service could he hope 
to render even alone, far less in the company of the 
man in whom my uncle found his fears incarnated ? 
Even if I were not already too late to prevent some 
deadly mischief, it was plain I must delay no longer. 
With the thought I was out of the house ; and 
often as I have run on the rough sides of Aros, I 
never ran as I did that fatal morning. I do not 
believe I put twelve minutes to the whole ascent. 

My uncle was gone from his perch. The basket 
had indeed been torn open and the meat scattered 
on the turf; but, as we found afterwards, no mouth- 
ful had been tasted ; and there was not another trace 
of human existence in that wide field of view. Day 
had already filled the clear heavens ; the sun already 
lighted in a rosy bloom upon the crest of Ben Kyaw ; 
but all below me the rude knolls of Aros and the 
shield of sea lay steeped in the clear darkling twilight 
of the dawn. 

8— m 177 



THE MERRY MEN 

' Rorie ! ' I cried ; and again ' Rorie ! ' My voice 
died in the silence, but there came no answer back. 
If there were indeed an enterprise afoot to catch my 
uncle, it was plainly not in fleetness of foot, but in 
dexterity of stalking, that the hunters placed their 
trust. I ran on farther, keeping the higher spurs, 
and looking right and left, nor did I pause again till 
I was on the mount above Sandag. I could see the 
wreck, the uncovered belt of sand, the waves idly 
beating, the long ledge of rocks, and on either hand 
the tumbled knolls, boulders, and gullies of the 
island. But still no human thing. 

At a stride the sunshine fell on Aros, and the 
shadows and colours leaped into being. Not half a 
moment later, below me to the west, sheep began to 
scatter as in a panic. There came a cry. I saw my 
uncle running. I saw the black jump up in hot 
pursuit ; and before I had time to understand, Rorie 
also had appeared, calling directions in Gaelic as to 
a dog herding sheep. 

1 took to my heels to interfere, and perhaps I had 
done better to have waited where I was, for I was 
the means of cutting off the madman's last escape. 
There was nothing before him from that moment 
but the grave, the wreck, and the sea in Sandag 
Bay. And yet Heaven knows that what I did was 
for the best. 

My uncle Gordon saw in what direction, horrible 

to him, the chase was driving him. He doubled, 

darting to the right and left ; but high as the fever 

ran in his veins, the black was still the swifter. 

178 






A MAN OUT OF THE SEA 

Turn where he would, he was still forestalled, still 
driven toward the scene of his crime. Suddenly he 
began to shriek aloud, so that the coast re-echoed ; 
and now both I and ltorie were calling on the black 
to stop. But all was vain, for it was written other- 
wise. The pursuer still ran, the chase still sped 
before him screaming ; they avoided the grave, and 
skimmed close past the timbers of the wreck ; in a 
breath they had cleared the sand ; and still my kins- 
man did not pause, but dashed straight into the 
surf; and the black, now almost within reach, still 
followed swiftly behind him. ltorie and I both 
stopped, for the thing was now beyond the hands of 
men, and these were the decrees of God that came 
to pass before our eyes. There was never a sharper 
ending. On that steep beach they were beyond 
their depth at a bound ; neither could swim ; the 
black rose once for a moment with a throttling cry ; 
but the current had them, racing seaward ; and if 
ever they came up again, which God alone can tell, 
it would be ten minutes after, at the far end of Aros 
Roost, where the sea-birds hover fishing. 



179 



WILL O' THE MILL 

THE PLAIN AND THE STARS 

The Mill where Will lived with his adopted parents 
stood in a falling valley between pinewoods and great 
mountains. Above, hill after hill soared upwards 
until they soared out of the depth of the hardiest 
timber, and stood naked against the sky. Some 
way up, a long grey village lay like a seam or a rag 
of vapour on a wooded hillside ; and when the wind 
was favourable the sound of the church bells would 
drop down, thin and silvery, to Will. Below, the 
valley grew ever steeper and steeper, and at the same 
time widened out on either hand ; and from an emin- 
ence beside the mill it was possible to see its whole 
length and away beyond it over a wide plain, where 
the river turned and shone, and moved on from city 
to city on its voyage towards the sea. It chanced 
that over this valley there lay a pass into a neigh- 
bouring kingdom ; so that, quiet ^and rural as it was, 
the road that ran along beside the river was a high 
thoroughfare between two splendid and powerful 
societies. All through the summer, travelling- 
carriages came crawling up, or went plunging briskly 
1 80 



WILL O' THE MILL 

downwards past the mill ; and as it happened that 
the other side was very much easier of ascent, the 
path was not much frequented, except by people 
coins: in one direction ; and of all the carriages that 
Will saw go by, five-sixths were plunging briskly 
downwards and only one-sixth crawling up. Much 
more was this the case with foot-passengers. All 
the light-footed tourists, all the pedlars laden with 
strange wares, were tending downward like the river 
that accompanied their path. Nor was this all ; for 
when Will was yet a child a disastrous war arose 
over a great part of the world. The newspapers 
were full of defeats and victories, the earth rang with 
cavalry hoofs, and often for days together and for 
miles around the coil of battle terrified good people 
from their labours in the field. Of all this, nothing 
was heard for a long time in the valley ; but at last 
one of the commanders pushed an army over the pass 
by forced marches, and for three days horse and foot, 
cannon and tumbril, drum and standard, kept pour- 
ing downward past the mill. All day the child 
stood and watched them on their passage ; the 
rhythmical stride, the pale, unshaven faces tanned 
about the eyes, the discoloured regimentals and the 
tattered flags, filled him with a sense of weariness, 
pity, and wonder ; and all night long, after he was in 
bed, he could hear the cannon pounding and the feet 
trampling, and the great armament sweeping onward 
and downward past the mill. No one in the valley 
ever heard the fate of the expedition, for they lay 
out of the way of gossip in those troublous times ; 

181 



WILL O' THE MILL 

but Will saw one thing plainly, that not a man 
returned. Whither had they all gone? Whither 
went all the tourists and pedlars with strange wares ? 
whither all the brisk barouches with servants in the 
dicky ? whither the water of the stream, ever 
coursing downward and ever renewed from above ? 
Even the wind blew oftener down the valley, and 
carried the dead leaves along with it in the fall. It 
seemed like a great conspiracy of things animate and 
inanimate ; they all went downward, fleetly and 
gaily downward, and only he, it seemed, remained 
behind, like a stock upon the wayside. It some- 
times made him glad when he noticed how the fishes 
kept their heads up stream. They, at least, stood 
faithfully by him, while all else were posting down- 
ward to the unknown world. 

One evening he asked the miller where the river 
went. 

' It goes down the valley,' answered he, ' and turns 
a power of mills — sixscore mills, they say, from here 
to Unterdeck — and it none the wearier after all. 
And then it goes out into the lowlands, and waters 
the great corn country, and runs through a sight of 
fine cities (so they say) where kings live all alone in 
great palaces, with a sentry walking up and down 
before the door. And it goes under bridges with 
stone men upon them, looking down and smiling so 
curious at the water, and living folks leaning their 
elbows on the wall and looking over too. And then 
it goes on and on, and down through marshes and 
sands, until at last it falls into the sea, where the 
182 



WILL O' THE MILL 

ships are that bring parrots and tobacco from the 
Indies. Ay, it has a long trot before it as it goes 
singing over our weir, bless its heart ! ' 

' And what is the sea ? ' asked Will. 

'The sea!' cried the miller. 'Lord help us all, 
it is the greatest thing God made ! That is where 
all the water in the world runs down into a great 
salt lake. There it lies, as flat as my hand and as 
innocent-like as a child ; but they do say when the 
wind blows it gets up into water-mountains bigger 
than any of ours, and swallows down great ships 
bigger than our mill, and makes such a roaring that 
you can hear it miles away upon the land. There 
are great fish in it five times bigger than a bull, and 
one old serpent as long as our river and as old as all 
the world, with whiskers like a man, and a crown of 
silver on her head.' 

Will thought he had never heard anything like 
this, and he kept on asking question after question 
about the world that lay away down the river, with 
all its perils and marvels, until the old miller became 
quite interested himself, and at last took him by the 
hand and led him to the hill-top that overlooks the 
valley and the plain. The sun was near setting, and 
hung low down in a cloudless sky. Everything was 
defined and glorified in golden light. Will had 
never seen so great an expanse of country in his 
life ; he stood and gazed with all his eyes. He could 
see the cities, and the woods and fields, and the 
bright curves of the river, and far away to where the 
rim of the plain trenched along the shining heavens. 

i83 



WILL O' THE MILL 

An overmastering emotion seized upon the boy, soul 
and body; his heart beat so thickly that he could 
not breathe ; the scene swam before his eyes ; the 
sun seemed to wheel round and round, and throw 
off, as it turned, strange shapes which disappeared 
with the rapidity of thought, and were succeeded by 
others. Will covered his face with his hands, and 
burst into a violent fit of tears ; and the poor miller, 
sadly disappointed and perplexed, saw nothing better 
for it than to take him up in his arms and carry him 
home in silence. 

From that day forward Will was full of new hopes 
and longings. Something kept tugging at his heart- 
strings ; the running water carried his desires along 
with it as he dreamed over its fleeting surface ; the 
wind, as it ran over innumerable tree-tops, hailed 
him with encouraging words ; branches beckoned 
downward ; the open road, as it shouldered round 
the angles and went turning and vanishing fast and 
faster down the valley, tortured him with its solicita- 
tions. He spent long whiles on the eminence, 
looking down the rivershed and abroad on the fat 
lowlands, and watched the clouds that travelled forth 
upon the sluggish wind and trailed their purple 
shadows on the plain ; or he would linger by the way- 
side, and follow the carriages with his eyes as they 
rattled downward by the river. It did not matter 
what it was ; everything that went that way, were it 
cloud or carriage, bird, or brown water in the stream, 
he felt his heart flow out after it in an ecstasy of 
longing. 

184 



WILL O' THE MILL 

We are told by men of science that all the ven- 
tures of mariners on the sea, all that counter-marching 
of tribes and races that confounds old history with 
its dust and rumour, sprang from nothing more 
abstruse than the laws of supply and demand, and a 
certain natural instinct for cheap rations. To any 
one thinking deeply, this will seem a dull and pitiful 
explanation. The tribes that came swarming out of 
the North and East, if they were indeed pressed 
onward from behind by others, were drawn at the 
same time by the magnetic influence of the South 
and West. The fame of other lands had reached 
them ; the name of the eternal city rang in their 
ears ; they were not colonists, but pilgrims ; they 
travelled towards wine and gold and sunshine, but 
their hearts were set on something higher. That 
divine unrest, that old stinging trouble of humanity 
that makes all high achievements and all miserable 
failure, the same that spread wings with Icarus, the 
same that sent Columbus into the desolate Atlantic, 
inspired and supported these barbarians on their 
perilous march. There is one legend which pro- 
foundly represents their spirit, of how a flying party 
of these Avanderers encountered a very old man shod 
with iron. The old man asked them whither they 
were going ; and they answered with one voice : ' To 
the Eternal City ! ' He looked upon them gravely. 
' I have sought it,' he said, ' over the most part of 
the world. Three such pairs as I now carry on my 
feet have I worn out upon this pilgrimage, and now 
the fourth is growing slender underneath my steps. 

185 



WILL O' THE MILL 

And all this while I have not found the city.' And 
he turned and went his own way alone, leaving them 
astonished. 

And yet this would scarcely parallel the intensity 
of Will's feeling for the plain. If he could only go 
far enough out there, he felt as if his eyesight would 
be purged and clarified, as if his hearing would grow 
more delicate, and his very breath would come and 
go with luxury. He was transplanted and withering 
where he was ; he lay in a strange country and Avas 
sick for home. Bit by bit, he pieced together broken 
notions of the world below : of the river, ever moving 
and growing until it sailed forth into the majestic 
ocean ; of the cities, full of brisk and beautiful 
people, playing fountains, bands of music and marble 
palaces, and lighted up at night from end to end 
with artificial stars of gold ; of the great churches, 
wise universities, brave armies, and untold money 
lying stored in vaults ; of the high-flying vice that 
moved in the sunshine, and the stealth and swiftness 
of midnight murder. I have said he was sick as if 
for home : the figure halts. He was like some one 
lying in twilit, formless pre-existence, and stretching 
out his hands lovingly towards many-coloured, many- 
sounding life. It was no wonder he was unhappy, 
he would go and tell the fish : they were made for 
their life, wished for no more than worms and run- 
ning water, and a hole below a falling. bank ; but he 
was differently designed, full of desires and aspira- 
tions, itching at the fingers, lusting with the eyes, 
whom the whole variegated world could not satisfy 
1 86 



WILL O' THE MILT, 

with aspects. The true life, the true bright sun- 
shine, lay far out upon the plain. And, O ! to see 
this sunlight once before he died ! to move with a 
jocund spirit in a golden land ! to hear the trained 
singers and sweet church bells, and see the holiday 
gardens ! ' And, O fish ! ' he would cry, * if you 
would only turn your noses down stream, you could 
swim so easily into the fabled waters and see the 
vast ships passing over your head like clouds, and 
hear the great water-hills making music over you all 
day long ! ' But the fish kept looking patiently in 
their own direction, until Will hardly knew whether 
to laugh or cry. 

Hitherto the traffic on the road had passed by 
Will, like something seen in a picture : he had 
perhaps exchanged salutations with a tourist, or 
caught sight of an old gentleman in a travelling cap 
at a carriage window ; but for the most part it had 
been a mere symbol, which he contemplated from 
apart and with something of a superstitious feeling. 
A time came at last when this was to be changed. 
The miller, who was a greedy man in his way, and 
never forwent an opportunity of honest profit, 
turned the mill-house into a little wayside inn, and, 
several pieces of good fortune falling in opportunely, 
built stables and got the position of postmaster on 
the road. It now became Will's duty to wait upon 
people, as they sat to break their fasts in the little 
arbour at the top of the mill garden ; and you may 
be sure that he kept his ears open, and learned many 
new things about the outside world as he brought 

187 



WILL O' THE MILL 

the omelette or the wine. Nay, he would often get 
into conversation with single guests, and by adroit 
questions and polite attention, not only gratify his 
own curiosity, but win the goodwill of the travellers. 
Many complimented the old couple on their serving- 
boy ; and a professor was eager to take him away 
with him, and have him properly educated in the 
plain. The miller and his wife were mightily 
astonished, and even more pleased. They thought 
it a very good thing that they should have opened 
their inn. 'You see,' the old man would remark, 
' he has a kind of talent for a publican ; he never 
would have made anything else ! ' And so life 
wagged on in the valley, with high satisfaction to all 
concerned but Will. Every carriage that left the 
inn-door seemed to take a part of him away with it ; 
and when people jestingly offered him a lift, he 
could with difficulty command his emotion. Night 
after night he would dream that he was awakened 
by flustered servants, and that a splendid equipage 
waited at the door to carry him down into the plain ; 
night after night ; until the dream, which had seemed 
all jollity to him at first, began to take on a colour 
of gravity, and the nocturnal summons and waiting 
equipage occupied a place in his mind as something 
to be both feared and hoped for. 

One day, when Will was about sixteen, a fat 
young man arrived at sunset to pass the night. He 
was a contented-looking fellow, with a jolly eye, and 
carried a knapsack. While dinner was preparing, he 
sat in the arbour to read a book ; but as soon as he 
188 



WILL O' THE MILL 

had begun to observe Will, the book was laid aside ; 
he was plainly one of those who prefer living people 
to people made of ink and paper. Will, on his part, 
although he had not been much interested in the 
stranger at first sight, soon began to take a great 
deal of pleasure in his talk, which was full of good 
nature and good sense, and at last conceived a great 
respect for his character and wisdom. They sat far 
into the night ; and about two in the morning Will 
opened his heart to the young man, and told him 
how he longed to leave the valley, and what bright 
hopes he had connected with the cities of the plain. 
The young man whistled, and then broke into a smile. 

' My young friend,' he remarked, ' you are a very 
curious little fellow, to be sure, and wish a great 
many things which you will never get. Why, you 
would feel quite ashamed if you knew how the little 
fellows in these fairy cities of yours are all after the 
same sort of nonsense, and keep breaking their hearts 
to get up into the mountains. And let me tell you, 
those who go down into the plains are a very short 
while there before they wish themselves heartily 
back again. The air is not so light nor so pure ; 
nor is the sun any brighter. As for the beautiful 
men and women, you would see many of them in 
rags, and many of them deformed with horrible 
disorders, and a city is so hard a place for people 
who are poor and sensitive that many choose to die 
by their own hand.' 

' You must think me very simple,' answered Will. 
' Although I have never been out of this valley, 

189 



WILL O' THE MILL 

believe me, I have used my eyes. I know how one 
thing lives on another; for instance, how the fish 
hangs in the eddy to catch his fellows ; and the 
shepherd, who makes so pretty a picture carrying 
home the lamb, is only carrying it home for dinner. 
I do not expect to find all things right in your 
cities. That is not what troubles me ; it might have 
been that once upon a time ; but although I live 
here always, I have asked many questions and learned 
a great deal in these last years, and certainly enough 
to cure me of my old fancies. But you would not 
have me die like a dog and not see all that is to be 
seen, and do all that a man can do, let it be good or 
evil ? you would not have me spend all my days 
between this road here and the river, and not so 
much as make a motion to be up and live my life ? 
— I would rather die out of hand,' he cried, 'than 
linger on as I am doing.' 

'Thousands of people,' said the young man, 'live 
and die like you, and are none the less happy.' 

'Ah!' said Will, 'if there are thousands who would 
like, why should not one of them have my place ? ' 

It was quite dark ; there was a hanging lamp in 
the arbour which lit up the table and the faces of the 
speakers ; and along the arch, the leaves upon the 
trellis stood out illuminated against the night sky, a 
pattern of transparent green upon a dusky purple. 
The fat young man rose, and, taking Will by the 
arm, led him out under the open heavens. 

' Did you ever look at the stars ? ' he asked, point- 
ing upwards. 
190 



WILL O' THE MILL 

' Often and often,' answered Will. 

' And do you know what they are ? ' 

' I have fancied many things.' 

' They are worlds like ours,' said the young man. 
' Some of them less ; many of them a million times 
greater ; and some of the least sparkles that you see 
are not only worlds but whole clusters of worlds 
turning about each other in the midst of space. We 
do not know what there may be in any of them ; 
perhaps the answer to all our difficulties or the cure 
of all our sufferings : and yet we can never reach 
them ; not all the skill of the craftiest of men can 
fit out a ship for the nearest of these our neighbours, 
nor would the life of the most aged suffice for such 
a journey. When a great battle has been lost or a 
dear friend is dead, when we are hipped or in high 
spirits, there they are, unweariedly shining overhead. 
We may stand down here, a whole army of us 
together, and shout until we break our hearts, and 
not a whisper reaches them. We may climb the 
highest mountain, and we are no nearer them. All 
we can do is to stand down here in the garden and 
take off our hats ; the starshine lights upon our 
heads, and where mine is a little bald, I daresay you 
can see it glisten in the darkness. The mountain 
and the mouse. That is like to be all we shall ever 
have to do with Arcturus or Aldebaran. Can you 
apply a parable ? ' he added, laying his hand upon 
Will's shoulder. ' It is not the same thins: as a 
reason, but usually vastly more convincing.' 

Will hung his head a little, and then raised it once 

191 



WILL O' THE MILL 

more to heaven. The stars seemed to expand and 
emit a sharper brilliancy ; and as he kept turning his 
eyes higher and higher, they seemed to increase in 
multitude under his gaze. 

' I see,' he said, turning to the young man. ' We 
are in a rat-trap.' 

' Something of that size. Did you ever see a 
squirrel turning in a cage ? and another squirrel 
sitting philosophically over his nuts ? I needn't ask 
you which of them looked more of a fool.' 



THE PARSON S MARJORY 

After some years the old people died, both in one 
winter, very carefully tended by their adopted son, 
and very quietly mourned when they were gone. 
People who had heard of his roving fancies supposed 
he would hasten to sell the property, and go down 
the river to push his fortunes. But there was never 
any sign of such an intention on the part of Will. 
On the contrary, he had the inn set on a better 
footing, and hired a couple of servants to assist him 
in carrying it on ; and there he settled down, a kind, 
talkative, inscrutable young man, six feet three in 
his stockings, with an iron constitution and a friendly 
voice. He soon began to take rank in the district 
as a bit of an oddity : it was not much to be won- 
dered at from the first, for he was always full of 
notions, and kept calling the plainest common sense 
in question ; but what most raised the report upon 
192 



WILL O' THE MILL 

him was the odd circumstance of his courtship with 
the parson's Marjory. 

The parson's Marjory was a lass about nineteen, 
when Will would be about thirty ; well enough 
looking, and much better educated than any other 
girl in that part of the country, as became her 
parentage. She held her head very high, and had 
already refused several offers of marriage with a 
grand air, which had got her hard names among the 
neighbours. For all that she was a good girl, and 
one that would have made any man well contented. 

Will had never seen much of her ; for although 
the church and parsonage were only two miles from 
his own door, he was never known to go there but 
on Sundays. It chanced, however, that the par- 
sonage fell into disrepair, and had to be dismantled ; 
and the parson and his daughter took lodgings for a 
month or so, on very much reduced terms, at Will's 
inn. Now, what with the inn, and the mill, and the 
old miller's savings, our friend was a man of sub- 
stance ; and besides that he had a name for good 
temper and shrewdness, which make a capital portion 
in marriage ; and so it was currently gossiped, 
among their ill-wishers, that the parson and his 
daughter had not chosen their temporary lodging 
with their eyes shut. Will was about the last man in 
the world to be cajoled or frightened into marriage. 
You had only to look into his eyes, limpid and still 
like pools of water, and yet with a sort of clear light 
that seemed to come from within, and you would 
understand at once that here was one who knew his 
8— n 193 



WILL O' THE MILL 

own mind and would stand to it immovably. Mar- 
jory herself was no weakling by her looks, with 
strong, steady eyes and a resolute and quiet bearing. 
It might be a question whether she was not Will's 
match in steadfastness, after all, or which of them 
would rule the roast in marriage. But Marjory had 
never given it a thought, and accompanied her father 
with the most unshaken innocence and unconcern. 

The season was still so early that Will's customers 
were few and far between ; but the lilacs were already 
flowering, and the weather was so mild that the 
party took dinner under the trellis, with the noise of 
the river in their ears and the woods ringing about 
them with the songs of birds. Will soon began to 
take a particular pleasure in these dinners. The 
parson was rather a dull companion, with a habit of 
dozing at table ; but nothing rude or cruel ever fell 
from his lips. And as for the parson's daughter, she 
suited her surroundings with the best grace imagin- 
able ; and whatever she said seemed so pat and 
pretty that Will conceived a great idea of her talents. 
He could see her face, as she leaned forward, against 
a background of rising pinewoods ; her eyes shone 
peaceably ; the light lay around her hair like a 
kerchief ; something that was hardly a smile rippled 
her pale cheeks, and Will could not contain himself 
from gazing on her in an agreeable dismay. She 
looked, even in her quietest moments, so complete 
in herself, and so quick with life down to her finger- 
tips and the very skirts of her dress, that the 
remainder of created things became no more than a 
194 






WILL O' THE MILL 

blot by comparison ; and if Will glanced away from 
her to her surroundings, the trees looked inanimate 
and senseless, the clouds hung in heaven like dead 
things, and even the mountain tops were disenchanted. 
The whole valley could not compare in looks with 
this one girl. 

Will was always observant in the society of his 
fellow-creatures ; but his observation became almost 
painfully eager in the case of Marjory. He listened 
to all she uttered, and read her eyes, at the same 
time, for the unspoken commentary. Many kind, 
simple, and sincere speeches found an echo in his 
heart. He became conscious of a soul beautifully 
poised upon itself, nothing doubting, nothing desir- 
ing, clothed in peace. It was not possible to separate 
her thoughts from her appearance. The turn of her 
wrist, the still sound of her voice, the light in her 
eyes, the lines of her body, fell in tune with her grave 
and gentle words, like the accompaniment that sus- 
tains and harmonises the voice of the singer. Her 
influence was one thing, not to be divided or dis- 
cussed, only to be felt with gratitude and joy. To 
Will, her presence recalled something of his child- 
hood, and the thought of her took its place in his 
mind beside that of dawn, of running water, and of 
the earliest violets and lilacs. It is the property of 
things seen for the first time, or for the first time 
after long, like the flowers in spring, to reawaken in 
us the sharp edge of sense and that impression of 
mystic strangeness which otherwise passes out of life 
with the coming of years ; but the sight of a loved 

195 



WILL O' THE MILL 

face is what renews a man's character from the 
fountain upwards. 

One day after dinner Will took a stroll among the 
firs; a grave beatitude possessed him from top to 
toe, and he kept smiling to himself and the landscape 
as he went. The river ran between the stepping- 
stones with a pretty wimple ; a bird sang loudly in 
the wood ; the hill-tops looked immeasurably high, 
and, as he glanced at them from time to time, seemed 
to contemplate his movements with a beneficent but 
awful curiosity. His way took him to the eminence 
which overlooked the plain ; and there he sat down 
upon a stone, and fell into deep and pleasant thought. 
The plain lay abroad with its cities and silver river ; 
everything was asleep, except a great eddy of birds 
which kept rising and falling and going round and 
round in the blue air. He repeated Marjory's name 
aloud, and the sound of it gratified his ear. He 
shut his eyes, and her image sprang up before him, 
quietly luminous and attended with good thoughts. 
The river might run for ever ; the birds fly higher 
and higher till they touched the stars. He saw it 
was empty bustle after all ; for here, without stirring 
a foot, waiting patiently in his own narrow valley, 
he also had attained the better sunlight. 

The next day Will made a sort of declaration 
across the dinner-table, while the parson was filling 
his pipe. 

' Miss Marjory,' he said, ' I never knew any one I 
liked so well as you. I am mostly a cold, unkindly 
sort of man ; not from want of heart, but out of 
196 



WILL O' THE MILL 

strangeness in my way of thinking ; and people seem 
far away from me. Tis as if there were a circle 
round me, which kept every one out but you ; I 
can hear the others talking and laughing ; but you 
come quite close. — Maybe this is disagreeable to 
you ? ' he asked. 

Marjory made no answer. 

' Speak up, girl,' said the parson. 

' Nay, now,' returned Will, ' I wouldn't press her, 
parson. I feel tongue-tied myself, who am not used 
to it ; and she 's a woman, and little more than a 
child, when all is said. But for my part, as far as 
I can understand what people mean by it, I fancy I 
must be what they call in love. I do not wish to 
be held as committing myself ; for I may be wrong ; 
but that is how I believe things are with me. And 
if Miss Marjory should feel any otherwise on her part, 
mayhap she would be so kind as shake her head.' 

Marjory was silent, and gave no sign that she had 
heard. 

' How is that, parson ? ' asked Will. 

'The girl must speak,' replied the parson, laying 
down his pipe. — ' Here s our neighbour, who says he 
loves you, Madge. Do you love him, ay or no ? ' 

• I think I do,' said Marjory faintly. 

' Well then, that 's all that could be wished ! ' cried 
Will heartily. And he took her hand across the 
table and held it a moment in both of his with 
great satisfaction. 

' You must marry,' observed the parson, replacing 
his pipe in his mouth. 

197 



WILL O' THE MILL 

' Is that the right thing to do, think you ? ' de- 
manded Will. 

' It is indispensable,' said the parson. 

' Very well,' replied the wooer. 

Two or three days passed away with great delight 
to Will, although a bystander might scarce have 
found it out. He continued to take his meals op- 
posite Marjory, and to talk with her and gaze upon 
her in her father's presence ; but he made no attempt 
to see her alone, nor in any other way changed his 
conduct towards her from what it had been since 
the beginning. Perhaps the girl was a little dis- 
appointed, and perhaps not unjustly ; and yet if it 
had been enough to be always in the thoughts of 
another person, and so pervade and alter his whole 
life, she might have been thoroughly contented. 
For she was never out of Will's mind for an instant. 
He sat over the stream, and watched the dust of 
the eddy, and the poised fish, and straining weeds ; 
he wandered out alone into the purple even, with 
all the blackbirds piping round him in the wood ; 
he rose early in the morning, and saw the sky turn 
from grey to gold, and the light leap upon the hill- 
tops ; and all the while he kept wondering if he had 
never seen such things before, or how it was that 
they should look so different now. The sound of 
his own mill-wheel, or of the wind among the 
trees, confounded and charmed his heart. The most 
enchanting thoughts presented themselves unbidden 
in his mind. He was so happy that he could not 
sleep at night, and so restless that he could hardly 
198 



WILL O' THE MILL 

sit still out of her company. And yet it seemed us 
if he avoided her rather than sought her out. 

One day, as he was coming home from a ramble, 
AVill found Marjory in the garden picking flowers, 
and, as he came up with her, slackened his pace and 
continued walking by her side. 

' You like flowers ? ' he said. 

'Indeed I love them dearly,' she replied. 'Do 
you ? ' 

' Why, no,' said he, ' not so much. They are a 
very small affair when all is done. I can fancy 
people caring for them greatly, but not doing as you 
are just now.' 

' How ? ' she asked, pausing and looking up at 
him. 

' Plucking them,' said he. ' They are a deal better 
off where they are, and look a deal prettier, if you 
go to that.' 

' I wish to have them for my own,' she answered, 
' to carry them near my heart, and keep them in my 
room. They tempt me when they grow here ; they 
seem to say, " Come and do something with us " ; 
but once I have cut them and put them by, the 
charm is laid, and I can look at them with quite an 
easy heart.' 

'You wish to possess them,' replied Will, 'in 
order to think no more about them. It 's a bit like 
killing the goose with the golden eggs. It 's a bit 
like what I wished to do when I was a boy. 
Because I had a fancy for looking out over the plain, 
I wished to go down there — where I couldn't look 

199 



WILL O' THE MILL 

out over it any longer. Was not that fine reasoning? 
Dear, dear, if they only thought of it, all the world 
would do like me ; and you would let your flowers 
alone, just as I stay up here in the mountains.' 
Suddenly he broke off sharp. ' By the Lord ! ' he 
cried. And when she asked him what was wrong, 
he turned the question off, and walked away into 
the house with rather a humorous expression of 
face. 

He was silent at table ; and after the night had 
fallen and the stars had come out overhead, he 
walked up and down for hours in the courtyard and 
garden with an uneven pace. There was still a light 
in the window of Marjory's room : one little oblong 
patch of orange in a world of dark blue hills and 
silver starlight. Will's mind ran a great deal on the 
window ; but his thoughts were not very lover-like. 
'There she is in her room,' he thought, 'and there 
are the stars overhead : — a blessing upon both ! ' 
Both were good influences in his life ; both soothed 
and braced him in his profound contentment with 
the world. And what more should he desire with 
either ? The fat young man and his counsels were 
so present to his mind that he threw back his head, 
and, putting his hands before his mouth, shouted 
aloud to the populous heavens. Whether from the 
position of his head or the sudden strain of the 
exertion, he seemed to see a momentary shock 
among the stars, and a diffusion of frosty light pass 
from one to another along the sky. At the same 
instant a corner of the blind was lifted and lowered 
200 



WILL O' THE MILL 

again at once. He laughed a loud ho-ho ! ' One 
and another ! ' thought Will. * The stars tremble, 
and the blind goes up. Why, before Heaven, what 
a great magician I must be ! Now if I were only a 
fool, should not I be in a pretty way ? ' And he 
went off to bed, chuckling to himself : ' If I were 
only a fool ! ' 

The next morning, pretty early, he saw her once 
more in the garden, and sought her out. 

' I have been thinking about getting married,' he 
began abruptly ; ' and after having turned it all over, 
I have made up my mind it 's not worth while.' 

She turned upon him for a single moment; but 
his radiant, kindly appearance would, under the cir- 
cumstances, have disconcerted an angel, and she 
looked down again upon the ground in silence. He 
could see her tremble. 

' I hope you don't mind,' he went on, a little taken 
aback. ' You ought not. I have turned it all over, 
and upon my soul there 's nothing in it. We should 
never be one whit nearer than we are just now, and, 
if I am a wise man, nothing like so happy.' 

' It is unnecessary to go round about with me, 
she said. ' I very well remember that you refused 
to commit yourself; and now that I see you were 
mistaken, and in reality have never cared for me, I 
can only feel sad that I have been so far misled.' 

' I ask your pardon,' said Will stoutly ; ' you do 
not understand my meaning. As to whether I have 
ever loved you or not, I must leave that to others. 
But for one thing, my feeling is not changed ; and 

201 



WILL O' THE MILL 

for another, you may make it your boast that you 
have made my whole life and character something 
different from what they were. I mean what I say ; 
no less. I do not think getting married is worth 
while. I would rather you went on living with your 
father, so that I could walk over and see you once, 
or maybe twice a week, as people go to church, and 
then we should both be all the happier between 
whiles. That 's my notion. But I '11 marry you if 
you will,' he added. 

' Do you know that you are insulting me ? ' she 
broke out. 

' Not I, Marjory,' said he ; 'if there is anything 
in a clear conscience, not I. I offer all my heart's 
best affection ; you can take it or want it, though 
I suspect it 's beyond either your power or mine to 
change what has once been done, and set me fancy- 
free. 1 11 marry you, if you like ; but I tell you 
again and again, it's not worth while, and we had 
best stay friends. Though I am a quiet man, I have 
noticed a heap of things in my life. Trust in me, 
and take things as I propose ; or, if you don't like 
that, say the word, and I '11 marry you out of hand.' 

There was a considerable pause, and Will, who 
began to feel uneasy, began to grow angry in con- 
sequence. 

' It seems you are too proud to say your mind,' he 
said. ' Believe me that 's a pity. A clean shrift 
makes simple living. Can a man be more downright 
or honourable to a woman than I have been ? I 
have said my say, and given you your choice. Do 

202 



WILL O' THE MILL 

you want me to marry you ? or will you take my 
friendship, as I think best ? or have you had enough 
of me for good ? Speak out for the dear God's sake ! 
You know your father told you a girl should speak 
her mind in these affairs.' 

She seemed to recover herself at that, turned 
without a word, walked rapidly through the garden, 
and disappeared into the house, leaving Will in 
some confusion as to the result. He walked up and 
down the garden, whistling softly to himself. Some- 
times he stopped and contemplated the sky and hill- 
tops ; sometimes he went down to the tail of the 
weir and sat there, looking foolishly in the water. 
All this dubiety and perturbation was so foreign to 
his nature and the life which he had resolutely chosen 
for himself, that he began to regret Marjory's arrival. 
' After all,' he thought, ' I was as happy as a man 
need be. I could come down here and watch my 
fishes all day long if I wanted : I was as settled and 
contented as my old mill.' 

Marjory came down to dinner, looking very trim 
and quiet ; and no sooner were all three at table 
than she made her father a speech, with her eyes 
fixed upon her plate, but showing no other sign of 
embarrassment or distress. 

' Father,' she began, ' Mr. Will and I have been 
talking things over. We see that we have each 
made a mistake about our feelings, and he has 
agreed, at my request, to give up all idea of marriage, 
and be no more than my very good friend, as in the 
past. You see, there is no shadow of a quarrel, and 

203 



WILL O' THE MILL 

indeed I hope we shall see a great deal of him in the 
future, for his visits will always be welcome in our 
house. Of course, father, you will know best, but 
perhaps we should do better to leave Mr. Will's 
house for the present. I believe, after what has 
passed, we should hardly be agreeable inmates for 
some days.' 

Will, who had commanded himself with difficulty 
from the first, broke out upon this into an inarticu- 
late noise, and raised one hand with an appearance 
of real dismay, as if he were about to interfere and 
contradict. But she checked him at once, looking 
up at him with a swift glance and an angry flush 
upon her cheek. 

' You will perhaps have the good grace,' she said, 
'to let me explain these matters for myself.' 

Will was put entirely out of countenance by her 
expression and the ring of her voice. He held his 
peace, concluding that there were some things about 
this girl beyond his comprehension — in which he was 
exactly right. 

The poor parson was quite crestfallen. He tried 
to prove that this was no more than a true lovers' 
tiff, which would pass off before night ; and when 
he was dislodged from that position, he went on to 
argue that where there Avas no quarrel there could 
be no call for a separation ; for the good man liked 
both his entertainment and his host It was curious 
to see how the girl managed them, saying little all 
the time, and that very quietly, and yet twisting 
them round her finger and insensibly leading them 
204 



WILL O' THE MILL 

wherever she would by feminine tact and general- 
ship. It scarcely seemed to have been her doing — 
it seemed as if things had merely so fallen out — that 
she and her father took their departure that same 
afternoon in a farm-cart, and went farther down the 
valley, to wait, until their own house was ready 
for them, in another hamlet. But Will had been 
observing closely, and was well aware of her dexterity 
and resolution. When he found himself alone he 
had a great many curious matters to turn over in his 
mind. He was very sad and solitary, to begin with. 
All the interest had gone out of his life, and he 
might look up at the stars as long as he pleased, 
he somehow failed to find support or consolation. 
And then he was in such a turmoil of spirit about 
Marjory. He had been puzzled and irritated at her 
behaviour, and yet he could not keep himself from 
admiring it. He thought he recognised a fine, per- 
verse angel in that still soul which he had never 
hitherto suspected ; and though he saw it was an 
influence that would fit but ill with his own life 
of artificial calm, he could not keep himself from 
ardently desiring to possess it. Like a man who has 
lived among shadows and now meets the sun, he was 
both pained and delighted. 

As the days went forward he passed from one 
extreme to another; now pluming himself on the 
strength of his determination, now despising his 
timid and silly caution. The former was, perhaps, 
the true thought of his heart, and represented the 
regular tenor of the man's reflections ; but the latter 

205 



WILL O' THE MILL 

burst forth from time to time with an unruly violence, 
and then he would forget all consideration, and go 
up and down his house and garden or walk among 
the fir-woods like one who is beside himself with 
remorse. To equable, steady-minded Will, this 
state of matters was intolerable ; and he determined, 
at whatever cost, to bring it to an end. So, one 
warm summer afternoon, he put on his best clothes, 
took a thorn switch in his hand, and set out down 
the valley by the river. As soon as he had taken 
his determination, he had regained at a bound his 
customary peace of heart, and he enjoyed the bright 
weather and the variety of the scene without any 
admixture of alarm or unpleasant eagerness. It was 
nearly the same to him how the matter turned out. 
If she accepted him he would have to marry her this 
time, which perhaps was all for the best. If she 
refused him, he would have done his utmost, and 
might follow his own way in the future with an un- 
troubled conscience. He hoped, on the whole, she 
would refuse him ; and then, again, as he saw the 
brown roof which sheltered her, peeping through 
some willows at an angle of the stream, he was half- 
inclined to reverse the wish, and more than half- 
ashamed of himself for this infirmity of purpose. 

Marjory seemed glad to see him, and gave him 
her hand without affectation or delay. 

1 1 have been thinking about this marriage,' he 
began. 

' So have I,' she answered. ' And I respect you 
more and more for a very wise man. You under- 
206 



WILL O' THE MILL 

stood me better than 1 understood myself; and I am 
now quite certain that things are all for the best as 
they are.' 

' At the same time ' ventured Will. 

' You must be tired,' she interrupted. ' Take a 
seat and let me fetch you a glass of wine. The 
afternoon is so warm ; and I wish you not to be 
displeased with your visit. You must come quite 
often ; once a week, if you can spare the time ; I am 
always so glad to see my friends.' 

'Oh, very well,' thought Will to himself. 'It 
appears I was right after all' And he paid a very 
agreeable visit, walked home again in capital spirits, 
and gave himself no further concern about the 
matter. 

For nearly three years Will and Marjory con- 
tinued on these terms, seeing each other once or 
twice a week without any word of love between 
them ; and for all that time I believe Will was 
nearly as happy as a man can be. He rather stinted 
himself the pleasure of seeing her ; and he would 
often walk half-way over to the parsonage, and then 
back again, as if to whet his appetite. Indeed, there 
was one corner of the road, whence he could see the 
church-spire wedged into a crevice of the valley 
between sloping fir-woods, with a triangular snatch 
of plain by way of background, which he greatly 
affected as a place to sit and moralise in before 
returning homewards ; and the peasants got so much 
into the habit of finding him there in the twilight that 
they gave it the name of 'Will o' the Mill's Corner.' 

207 



WILL O' THE MILL 

At the end of the three years Marjory played him 
a sad trick by suddenly marrying somebody else. 
Will kept his countenance bravely, and merely 
remarked that, for as little as he knew of women, he 
had acted very prudently in not marrying her him- 
self three years before. She plainly knew very little 
of her own mind, and, in spite of a deceptive manner, 
was as fickle and flighty as the rest of them. He 
had to congratulate himself on an escape, he said, 
and would take a higher opinion of his own wisdom 
in consequence. But at heart he was reasonably 
displeased, moped a good deal for a month or two, 
and fell away in flesh, to the astonishment of his 
serving-lads. 

It was perhaps a year after this marriage that 
Will was awakened late one night by the sound of a 
horse galloping on the road, followed by precipitate 
knocking at the inn -door. He opened his window 
and saw a farm-servant, mounted and holding a led 
horse by the bridle, who told him to make what 
haste he could and go along with him ; for Marjory 
was dying, and had sent urgently to fetch him to 
her bedside. Will was no horseman, and made so 
little speed upon the way that the poor young wife 
was very near her end before he arrived. But they 
had some minutes' talk in private, and he was 
present and wept very bitterly while she breathed 
her last. 



208 



WILL O' THE MILL 



DEATH 

Year after year went away into nothing, with 
great explosions and outcries in the cities on the 
plain : red revolt springing up and being suppressed 
in blood, battle swaying hither and thither, patient 
astronomers in observatory towers picking out and 
christening new stars, plays being performed in 
lighted theatres, people being carried into hospital 
on stretchers, and all the usual turmoil and agitation 
of men's lives in crowded centres. Up in Wills 
valley only the winds and seasons made an epoch ; 
the fish hung in the swift stream, the birds circled 
overhead, the pine-tops rustled underneath the stars, 
the tall hills stood over all ; and Will went to and 
fro, minding his wayside inn, until the snow began 
to thicken on his head. His heart was young and 
vigorous ; and if his pulses kept a sober time, they 
still beat strong and steady in his wrists. He carried 
a ruddy stain on either cheek, like a ripe apple ; he 
stooped a little, but his step was still firm ; and his 
sinewy hands Avere reached out to all men with a 
friendly pressure. His face was covered with those 
wrinkles which are got in open air, and which, rightly 
looked at, are no more than a sort of permanent 
sunburning ; such wrinkles heighten the stupidity of 
stupid faces ; but to a person like Will, with his 
clear eyes and smiling mouth, only give another 
charm by testifying to a simple and easy life. His 
talk was full of wise sayings. He had a taste for 
8— o 209 



WILL O' THE MILL 

other people ; and other people had a taste for him. 
When the valley was full of tourists in the season, 
there were merry nights in Will's arbour ; and his 
views, which seemed whimsical to his neighbours, 
were often enough admired by learned people out of 
towns and colleges. Indeed, he had a very noble 
old age, and grew daily better known ; so that his 
fame was heard of in the cities of the plain ; and 
young men who had been summer travellers spoke 
together in caf£s of Will o' the Mill and his rough 
philosophy. Many and many an invitation, you 
may be sure, he had ; but nothing could tempt him 
from his upland valley. He would shake his head 
and smile over his tobacco-pipe with a deal of mean- 
ing. ' You come too late,' he would answer. ' I 
am a dead man now : I have lived and died already. 
Fifty years ago you would have brought my heart 
into my mouth ; and now you do not even tempt 
me. But that is the object of long living, that man 
should cease to care about life.' And again : ' There 
is only one difference between a long life and a good 
dinner : that, in the dinner, the sweets come last.' 
Or once more : ' When I was a boy I was a bit 
puzzled, and hardly knew whether it was myself or 
the world that was curious and worth looking into. 
Now, I know it is myself, and stick to that.' 

He never showed any symptom of frailty, but kept 
stalwart and firm to the last ; but they say he grew 
less talkative towards the end, and would listen to 
other people by the hour in an amused and sympa- 
thetic silence. Only, when he did speak, it was more 
210 



WILL O' THE MILL 

to the point and more charged with old experience. 
He drank a bottle of wine gladly ; above all, at sun- 
set on the hill-top or quite late at night under the 
stars in the arbour. The sight of something attrac- 
tive and unattainable seasoned his enjoyment, he 
would say ; and he professed he had lived long 
enough to admire a candle all the more when he 
could compare it with a planet. 

One night, in his seventy-second year, he awoke 
in bed in such uneasiness of body and mind that he 
arose and dressed himself and went out to meditate 
in the arbour. It was pitch dark, without a star ; 
the river was swollen, and the wet woods and 
meadows loaded the air with perfume. It had 
thundered during the day, and it promised more 
thunder for the morrow. A murky, stifling night 
for a man of seventy-two ! Whether it was the 
weather or the wakefulness, or some little touch of 
fever in his old limbs, Will's mind was besieged by 
tumultuous and crying memories. His boyhood, 
the night with the fat young man, the death of his 
adopted parents, the summer days with Marjory, and 
many of those small circumstances, which seem 
nothing to another, and are yet the very gist of a 
man's own life to himself — things seen, words heard, 
looks misconstrued — arose from their forgotten 
corners and usurped his attention. The dead them- 
selves were with him, not merely taking part in this 
thin show of memory that defiled before his brain, 
but revisiting his bodily senses as they do in pro- 
found and vivid dreams. The fat young man leaned 

211 



WILL O' THE MILL 

his elbows on the table opposite ; Marjory came and 
went with an apronful of flowers between the garden 
and the arbour ; he could hear the old parson knock- 
ing out his pipe or blowing his resonant nose. The 
tide of his consciousness ebbed and flowed : he was 
sometimes half-asleep and drowned in his recollec- 
tions of the past : and sometimes he was broad 
awake, wondering at himself. But about the middle 
of the night he was startled by the voice of the dead 
miller calling to him out of the house as he used to 
do on the arrival of custom. The hallucination was 
so perfect that Will sprang from his seat and stood 
listening for the summons to be repeated ; and as he 
listened he became conscious of another noise be- 
sides the brawling of the river and the ringing in his 
feverish ears. It was like the stir of horses and the 
creaking of harness, as though a carriage with an 
impatient team had been brought up upon the road 
before the courtyard gate. At such an hour, upon 
this rough and dangerous pass, the supposition was 
no better than absurd ; and Will dismissed it from 
his mind, and resumed his seat upon the arbour 
chair ; and sleep closed over him again like running 
water. He was once again awakened by the dead 
miller's call, thinner and more spectral than before ; 
and once again he heard the noise of an equipage 
upon the road. And so thrice and four times, the 
same dream, or the same fancy, presented itself to his 
senses : until at length, smiling to himself as when 
one humours a nervous child, he proceeded towards 
the gate to set his uncertainty at rest. 

212 



WILL O' THE MILL 

From the arbour to the gate was no great distance, 
and yet it took Will some time ; it seemed as if the 
dead thickened around him in the court, and crossed 
his path at every step. For, first, he was suddenly 
surprised by an overpowering sweetness of helio- 
tropes ; it was as if his garden had been planted with 
this flower from end to end, and the hot, damp 
night had drawn forth all their perfumes in a breath. 
Now the heliotrope had been Marjory's favourite 
flower, and since her death not one of them had ever 
been planted in Will's ground. 

' I must be going crazy,' he thought. * Poor 
Marjory and her heliotropes ! ' 

And with that he raised his eyes towards the 
window that had once been hers. If he had been 
bewildered before, he was now almost terrified ; for 
there was a light in the room ; the window was an 
orange oblong as of yore ; and the corner of the blind 
was lifted and let fall as on the night when he stood 
and shouted to the stars in his perplexity. The 
illusion only endured an instant ; but it left him 
somewhat unmanned, rubbing his eyes and staring 
at the outline of the house and the black night be- 
hind it. While he thus stood, and it seemed as if 
he must have stood there quite a long time, there 
came a renewal of the noises on the road : and he 
turned in time to meet a stranger, who was ad- 
vancing to meet him across the court. There was 
something like the outline of a great carriage dis- 
cernible on the road behind the stranger, and, above 
that, a few black pine-tops, like so many plumes. 

213 



WILL O' THE MILL 

' Master AVill ? ' asked the new-comer, in brief 
military fashion. 

' That same, sir,' answered Will. * Can I do any- 
thing to serve you ? ' 

' I have heard you much spoken of, Master 
Will,' returned the other ; ' much spoken of, and 
well. And though I have both hands full of 
business, I wish to drink a bottle of wine with 
you in your arbour. Before I go, I shall introduce 
myself. ' 

Will led the way to the trellis, and got a lamp 
lighted and a bottle uncorked. He was not alto- 
gether unused to such complimentary interviews, 
and hoped little enough from this one, being schooled 
by many disappointments. A sort of cloud had 
settled on his wits and prevented him from re- 
membering the strangeness of the hour. He moved 
like a person in his sleep ; and it seemed as if the 
lamp caught fire and the bottle came uncorked with 
the facility of thought. Still, he had some curiosity 
about the appearance of his visitor, and tried in vain 
to turn the light into his face ; either he handled 
the lamp clumsily, or there was a dimness over his 
eyes ; but he could make out little more than a 
shadow at table with him. He stared and stared at 
this shadow, as he wiped out the glasses, and began 
to feel cold and strange about the heart. The silence 
weighed upon him, for he could hear nothing now, 
not even the river, but the drumming of his own 
arteries in his ears. 

' Here 's to you,' said the stranger roughly. 
214 



WILL O' THE MILL 

' Here is my service, sir/ replied Will, sipping his 
wine, which somehow tasted oddly. 

• I understand you are a very positive fellow,' 
pursued the stranger. 

Will made answer with a smile of some satisfac- 
tion and a little nod. 

* So am I,' continued the other ; ' and it is the 
delight of my heart to tramp on people's corns. I 
will have nobody positive but myself; not one. I 
have crossed the whims, in my time, of kings and 
generals and great artists. And what would you 
say,' he went on, ' if I had come up here on purpose 
to cross yours ? ' 

Will had it on his tongue to make a sharp re- 
joinder ; but the politeness of an old innkeeper pre- 
vailed ; and he held his peace and made answer with 
a civil gesture of the hand. 

' I have,' said the stranger. ' And if I did not 
hold you in a particular esteem, I should make no 
words about the matter. It appears you pride your- 
self on staying where you are. You mean to stick 
by your inn. Now I mean you shall come for a turn 
with me in my barouche ; and before this bottle 's 
empty, so you shall.' 

1 That would be an odd thing, to be sure,' replied 
Will, with a chuckle. 'Why, sir, I have grown here 
like an old oak-tree ; the devil himself could hardly 
root me up : and for all I perceive you are a very 
entertaining old gentleman, I would wager you 
another bottle you lose your pains with me.' 

The dimness of Will's eyesight had been increasing 

215 



WILL O' THE MILL 

all this while ; but he was somehow conscious of a 
sharp and chilling scrutiny which irritated and yet 
overmastered him. 

' You need not think,' he broke out suddenly, in 
an explosive, febrile manner that startled and alarmed 
himself, ' that I am a stay-at-home because I fear 
anything under God. God knows I am tired enough 
of it all ; and when the time comes for a longer 
journey than ever you dream of, I reckon I shall find 
myself prepared.' 

The stranger emptied his glass and pushed it away 
from him. He looked down for a little, and then, 
leaning over the table, tapped Will three times upon 
the forearm with a single finger. ' The time has 
come ! ' he said solemnly. 

An ugly thrill spread from the spot he touched. 
The tones of his voice were dull and startling, and 
echoed strangely in Will's heart. 

' I beg your pardon,' he said, with some discom- 
posure. ' What do you mean ? ' 

' Look at me, and you will find your eyesight 
swim. Raise your hand ; it is dead-heavy. This is 
your last bottle of wine, Master Will, and your last 
night upon the earth.' 

' You are a doctor ? ' quavered Will. 

' The best that ever was,' replied the other ; ' for 
I cure both mind and body with the same prescrip- 
tion. I take away all pain and I forgive all sins ; 
and where my patients have gone wrong in life, I 
smooth out all complications and set them free again 
upon their feet.' 
216 



WILL O' THE MILL 

' I have no need of you,' said Will. 

' A time comes for all men, Master Will,' replied 
the doctor, ' when the helm is taken out of their 
hands. For you, because you were prudent and 
quiet, it has been long of coming, and you have had 
long to discipline yourself for its reception. You 
have seen what is to be seen about your mill ; you 
have sat close all your days like a hare in its form ; 
but now that is at an end ; and,' added the doctor, 
getting on his feet, ' you must arise and come with 
me.' 

' You are a strange physician,' said Will, looking 
steadfastly upon his guest. 

' I am a natural law,' he replied, ' and people call 
me Death.' 

' Why did you not tell me so at first ? ' cried Will. 
'• I have been waiting for you these many years. 
Give me your hand, and welcome.' 

* Lean upon my arm,' said the stranger, ' for 
already your strength abates. Lean on me as heavily 
as you need ; for though I am old I am very strong. 
It is but three steps to my carriage, and there all 
your trouble ends. Why, Will,' he added, ' I have 
been yearning for you as if you were my own son ; 
and of all the men that ever I came for in my long 
days, 1 have come for you most gladly. I am 
caustic, and sometimes offend people at first sight ; 
but I am a good friend at heart to such as you.' 

' Since Marjory was taken,' returned Will, ' I de- 
clare before God you were the only friend I had to 
look for." 

217 



WILL O' THE MILL 

So the pair went arm-in-arm across the courtyard. 

One of the servants awoke about this time and 
heard the noise of horses pawing before he dropped 
asleep again ; all down the valley that night there 
was a rushing as of a smooth and steady wind de- 
scending towards the plain ; and when the world 
rose next morning, sure enough Will o' the Mill 
had gone at last upon his travels. 



218 



MARKHEIM 

' Yes,' said the dealer, ' our windfalls are of various 
kinds. Some customers are ignorant, and then I 
touch a dividend on my superior knowledge. Some 
are dishonest,' and here he held up the candle, so 
that the light fell strongly on his visitor, ' and in that 
case,' he continued, ' I profit by my virtue.' 

Markheim had but just entered from the daylight 
streets, and his eyes had not yet grown familiar with 
the mingled shine and darkness in the shop. At 
these pointed words, and before the near presence of 
the flame, he blinked painfully and looked aside. 

The dealer chuckled. 'You come to me on 
Christmas Day,' he resumed, ' when you know that I 
am alone in my house, put up my shutters, and make 
a point of refusing business. Well, you will have 
to pay for that ; you will have to pay for my loss of 
time, when I should be balancing my books ; you 
will have to pay, besides, for a kind of manner that 
I remark in you to-day very strongly. I am the 
essence of discretion, and ask no awkward questions ; 
but when a customer cannot look me in the eye, he 
has to pay for it' The dealer once more chuckled ; 

219 



MARKHEIM 

and then, changing to his usual business voice, 
though still with a note of irony, ' You can give, as 
usual, a clear account of how you came into the 
possession of the object ? ' he continued. ' Still your 
uncle's cabinet ? A remarkable collector, sir ! ' 

And the little pale, round-shouldered dealer stood 
almost on tip-toe, looking over the top of his gold 
spectacles, and nodding his head with every mark of 
disbelief. Markheim returned his gaze with one of 
infinite pity, and a touch of horror. 

'This time,' said he, 'you are in error. I have 
not come to sell, but to buy. I have no curios to 
dispose of; my uncle's cabinet is bare to the wains- 
cot ; even were it still intact, I have done well on 
the Stock Exchange, and should more likely add to 
it than otherwise, and my errand to-day is simplicity 
itself. I seek a Christinas present for a lady,' he 
continued, waxing more fluent as he struck into the 
speech he had prepared ; ' and certainly I owe you 
every excuse for thus disturbing you upon so small 
a matter. But the thing was neglected yesterday ; 
I must produce my little compliment at dinner ; and, 
as you very well know, a rich marriage is not a thing 
to be neglected.' 

There followed a pause, during which the dealer 
seemed to weigh this statement incredulously. The 
ticking of many clocks among the curious lumber of 
the shop, and the faint rushing of the cabs in a near 
thoroughfare, filled up the interval of silence. 

' Well, sir,' said the dealer, ' be it so. You are an 
old customer after all ; and if, as you say, you have 
220 



MARKHEIM 

the chance of a good marriage, far be it from me to 
be an obstacle. — Here is a nice thing for a lady 
now,' he went on, ' this hand-glass— fifteenth-century, 
warranted ; comes from a good collection, too ; but 
I reserve the name, in the interests of my customer, 
who was just like yourself, my dear sir, the nephew 
and sole heir of a remarkable collector. ' 

The dealer, while he thus ran on in his dry and 
biting voice, had stooped to take the object from its 
place ; and, as he had done so, a shock had passed 
through Markheim, a start both of hand and foot, a 
sudden leap of many tumultuous passions to the 
face. It passed as swiftly as it came, and left no 
trace beyond a certain trembling of the hand that 
now received the glass. 

'A glass,' he said hoarsely, and then paused, and 
repeated it more clearly. ' A glass ? For Christ- 
mas ? Surely not ? ' 

'And why not?' cried the dealer. 'Why not a 
glass ? ' 

Markheim was looking upon him with an indefin- 
able expression. ' You ask me why not ? ' he said. 
' Why, look here — look in it — look at yourself! Do 
you like to see it ? No ! nor I — nor any man. ' 

The little man had jumped back when Markheim 
had so suddenly confronted him with the mirror ; 
but now, perceiving there was nothing worse on 
hand, he chuckled. ' Your future lady, sir, must be 
pretty hard-favoured,' said he. 

' I ask you,' said Markheim, 'for a Christmas pre- 
sent, and you give me this — this damned reminder of 

221 



MARKHEIM 

years, and sins and follies — this hand-conscience. 
Did you mean it ? Had you a thought in your 
mind ? Tell me. It will be better for you if you 
do. Come, tell me about yourself. I hazard a 
guess now, that you are in secret a very charitable 
man ? ' 

The dealer looked closely at his companion. It 
was very odd, Markheim did not appear to be laugh- 
ing ; there was something in his face like an eager 
sparkle of hope, but nothing of mirth. 

' What are you driving at ? ' the dealer asked. 

' Not charitable ? ' returned the other gloomily. 
' Not charitable ? not pious ; not scrupulous ; unlov- 
ing, unbeloved ; a hand to get money, a safe to keep 
it. Is that all ? Dear God, man, is that all ? ' 

' I will tell you what it is,' began the dealer, with 
some sharpness, and then broke off again into a 
chuckle. ' But I see this is a love-match of yours, 
and you have been drinking the lady's health.' 

' Ah ! ' cried Markheim, with a strange curiosity. 
' Ah, have you been in love ? Tell me about that.' 

' I,' cried the dealer. ' I in love ! I never had the 
time, nor have I the time to-day for all this non- 
sense. — Will you take the glass ? ' 

' Where is the hurry ? ' returned Markheim. ■ It 
is very pleasant to stand here talking ; and life is so 
short and insecure that I would not hurry away from 
any pleasure — no, not even from so mild a one as 
this. We should rather cling, cling to what little 
we can get, like a man at a cliff's edge. Every 
second is a cliff, if you think upon it — a cliff a mile 

222 



MARKHEIM 

high — high enough, if we fall, to dash us out of 
every feature of humanity. Hence it is best to talk 
pleasantly. Let us talk of each other : why should 
we wear this mask ? Let us be confidential. Who 
knows ? — we might become friends.' 

' I have just one word to say to you,' said the 
dealer. * Either make your purchase or walk out of 
my shop ! ' 

' True, true,' said Markheim. ' Enough fooling. 
To business. Show me something else.' 

The dealer stooped once more, this time to replace 
the glass upon the shelf, his thin blond hair falling 
over his eyes as he did so. Markheim moved a 
little nearer, with one hand in the pocket of his 
greatcoat ; he drew himself up and filled his lungs ; 
at the same time many different emotions were 
depicted together on his face — terror, horror, and 
resolve, fascination and a physical repulsion ; and 
through a haggard lift of his upper lip his teeth 
looked out. 

'This, perhaps, may suit,' observed the dealer: 
and then, as he began to re-arise, Markheim bounded 
from behind upon his victim. The long, skewer-like 
dagger flashed and fell. The dealer struggled like 
a hen, striking his temple on the shelf, and then 
tumbled on the floor in a heap. 

Time had some score of small voices in that shop, 
some stately and slow, as was becoming to their 
great age ; others garrulous and hurried. All these 
told out the seconds in an intricate chorus of tick- 
ings. Then the passage of a lad's feet, heavily 

223 



MARKHEIM 

running on the pavement, broke in upon these 
smaller voices and startled Markheim into the con- 
sciousness of his surroundings. He looked about 
him awfully. The candle stood on the counter, its 
flame solemnly wagging in a draught ; and by that 
inconsiderable movement the whole room was filled 
with noiseless bustle and kept heaving like a sea : the 
tall shadows nodding, the gross blots of darkness 
swelling and dwindling as with respiration, the faces 
of the portraits and the china gods changing and 
wavering like images in water. The inner door 
stood ajar, and peered into that leaguer of shadows 
with a long slit of daylight like a pointing finger. 

From these fear-stricken rovings Markheim's eyes 
returned to the body of his victim, where it lay 
both humped and sprawling, incredibly small and 
strangely meaner than in life. In these poor, 
miserly clothes, in that ungainly attitude, the dealer 
lay like so much sawdust. Markheim had feared to 
see it, and, lo ! it was nothing. And yet, as he 
gazed, this bundle of old clothes and pool of blood 
began to find eloquent voices. There it must lie ; 
there was none to work the cunning hinges or direct 
the miracle of locomotion — there it must lie till it 
was found. Found ! ay, and then ? Then would 
this dead flesh lift up a cry that would ring over 
England, and fill the world with the echoes of pur- 
suit Ay, dead or not, this was still the enemy. 
' Time was that when the brains were out,' he 
thought; and the first word struck into his mind. 
Time, now that the deed was accomplished — time, 
224 



MARKHEIM 

which had closed for the victim, had become instant 
and momentous for the slayer. 

The thought was yet in his mind when, first one 
and then another, with every variety of pace and 
voice — one deep as the bell from a cathedral turret, 
another ringing on its treble notes the prelude of a 
waltz — the clocks began to strike the hour of three 
in the afternoon. 

The sudden outbreak of so many tongues in that 
dumb chamber staggered him. He began to bestir 
himself, going to and fro with the candle, beleaguered 
by moving shadows, and startled to the soul by 
chance reflections. In many rich mirrors, some of 
home design, some from Venice or Amsterdam, he 
saw his face repeated and repeated, as it were an 
army of spies ; his own eyes met and detected him ; 
and the sound of his own steps, lightly as they fell, 
vexed the surrounding quiet. And still, as he con- 
tinued to fill his pockets, his mind accused him, with 
a sickening iteration, of the thousand faults of his 
design. He should have chosen a more quiet hour ; 
he should have prepared an alibi ; he should not have 
used a knife ; he should have been more cautious, 
and only bound and gagged the dealer, and not 
killed him ; he should have been more bold, and 
killed the servant also ; he should have done all 
things otherwise : poignant regrets, weary, incessant 
toiling of the mind to change what was unchange- 
able, to plan what was now useless, to be the ar- 
chitect of the irrevocable past. Meanwhile, and 
behind all this activity, brute terrors, like the scurry- 
8— p 225 



MARKHEIM 

ing of rats in a deserted attic, rilled the more remote 
chambers of his brain with riot ; the hand of the 
constable would fall heavy on his shoulder, and his 
nerves would jerk like a hooked fish ; or he beheld, 
in galloping defile, the dock, the prison, the gallows, 
and the black coffin. 

Terror of the people in the street sat down before 
his mind like a besieging army. It was impossible, 
he thought, but that some rumour of the struggle 
must have reached their ears and set on edge their 
curiosity ; and now, in all the neighbouring houses, 
he divined them sitting motionless and with uplifted 
ear — solitary people, condemned to spend Christmas 
dwelling alone on memories of the past, and now 
startlingly recalled from that tender exercise ; happy 
family parties, struck into silence round the table, 
the mother still with raised finger : every degree and 
age and humour, but all, by their own hearths, pry- 
ing and hearkening and weaving the rope that was to 
hang him. Sometimes it seemed to him he could 
not move too softly ; the clink of the tall Bohemian 
goblets rang out loudly like a bell ; and alarmed by 
the bigness of the ticking, he was tempted to stop 
the clocks. And then, again, with a swift transition 
of his terrors, the very silence of the place appeared 
a source of peril, and a thing to strike and freeze 
the passer-by ; and he would step more boldly, and 
bustle aloud among the contents of the shop, and 
imitate, with elaborate bravado, the movements of a 
busy man at ease in his own house. 

But he was now so pulled about by different alarms 
226 



MARKHEIM 

that, while one portion of his mind was still alert and 
cunning, another trembled on the brink of lunacy. 
One hallucination in particular took a strong hold 
on his credulity. The neighbour hearkening with 
white face beside his window, the passer-by arrested 
by a horrible surmise on the pavement — these could 
at worst suspect, they could not know ; through the 
brick walls and shuttered windows only sounds could 
penetrate. But here, within the house, was he alone ? 
He knew he was ; he had watched the servant set 
forth sweethearting, in her poor best, ' out for the 
day ' written in every ribbon and smile. Yes, he 
was alone, of course ; and yet, in the bulk of empty 
house above him, he could surely hear a stir of 
delicate footing — he was surely conscious, inexplic- 
ably conscious, of some presence. Ay, surely ; to 
every room and corner of the house his imagination 
followed it ; and now it was a faceless thing, and 
yet had eyes to see with ; and again it was a shadow 
of himself; and yet again behold the image of the 
dead dealer, reinspired with cunning and hatred. 

At times, with a strong effort, he would glance at 
the open door which still seemed to repel his eyes. 
The house was tall, the skylight small and dirty, the 
day blind with fog ; and the light that filtered down 
to the ground story was exceedingly faint and showed 
dimly on the threshold of the shop. And yet, in that 
strip of doubtful brightness, did there not hang 
wavering a shadow ? 

Suddenly, from the street outside, a very jovial 
gentleman began to beat with a staff on the shop- 

227 



MARKHEIM 

door, accompanying his blows with shouts and 
railleries in which the dealer was continually called 
upon by name. Markheim, smitten into ice, glanced 
at the dead man. But no ! he lay quite still ; he 
was fled away far beyond ear-shot of these blows and 
shoutings ; he was sunk beneath seas of silence ; 
and his name, which would once have caught his 
notice above the howling of a storm, had become an 
empty sound. And presently the jovial gentleman 
desisted from his knocking and departed. 

Here was a broad hint to hurry what remained to 
be done, to get forth from this accusing neighbour- 
hood, to plunge into a bath of London multitudes, 
and to reach, on the other side of day, that haven of 
safety and apparent innocence — his bed. One visitor 
had come : at any moment another might follow and 
be more obstinate. To have done the deed, and yet 
not to reap the profit, would be too abhorrent a 
failure. The money, that was now Markheim's con- 
cern ; and as a means to that, the keys. 

He glanced over his shoulder at the open door ; 
where the shadow was still lingering and shivering ; 
and with no conscious repugnance of the mind, yet 
with a tremor of the belly, he drew near the body of 
his victim. The human character had quite de- 
parted. Like a suit half-stuffed with bran, the limbs 
lay scattered, the trunk doubled, on the floor ; and 
yet the thing repelled him. Although so dingy and 
inconsiderable to the eye, he feared it might have 
more significance to the touch. He took the body 
by the shoulders and turned it on its back. It was 
228 



MARKHEIM 

strangely light and supple, and the limbs, as if they 

had been broken, fell into the oddest postures. The 

face was robbed of all expression ; but it was as 

pale as wax, and shockingly smeared with blood 

about one temple. That was, for Markheim, the 

one displeasing circumstance. It carried him back, 

upon the instant, to a certain fair-day in a fishers' 

village : a grey day, a piping wind, a crowd upon 

the street, the blare of brasses, the booming of 

drums, the nasal voice of a ballad-singer ; and a boy 

going to and fro, buried over-head in the crowd and 

divided between interest and fear, until, coming out 

upon the chief place of concourse, he beheld a booth 

and a great screen with pictures, dismally designed, 

garishly coloured : Brownrigg with her apprentice ; 

the Mannings with their murdered guest ; Weare 

in the death-grip of Thurtell ; and a score besides 

of famous crimes. The thing was as clear as an 

illusion ; he was once again that little boy ; he was 

looking once again, and with the same sense of 

physical revolt, at these vile pictures ; he was still 

stunned by the thumping of the drums. A bar of 

that day's music returned upon his memory ; and at 

that, for the first time, a qualm came over him, a 

breath of nausea, a sudden weakness of the joints, 

w r hich he must instantly resist and conquer. 

He judged it more prudent to confront than to 
flee from these considerations ; looking the more 
hardily in the dead face, bending his mind to realise 
the nature and greatness of his crime. So little a 
while ago that face had moved with every change of 

229 



MARKHEIM 

sentiment, that pale mouth had spoken, that body 
had been all on fire with governable energies ; and 
now, and by his act, that piece of life had been 
arrested, as the horologist, with interjected finger, 
arrests the beating of the clock. So he reasoned in 
vain ; he could rise to no more remorseful conscious- 
ness ; the same heart which had shuddered before 
the painted effigies of crime looked on its reality un- 
moved. At best, he felt a gleam of pity for one who 
had been endowed in vain with all those faculties 
that can make the world a garden of enchantment, 
one who had never lived and who was now dead. 
But of penitence, no, not a tremor. 

With that, shaking himself clear of these con- 
siderations, he found the keys and advanced towards 
the open door of the shop. Outside, it had begun to 
rain smartly ; and the sound of the shower upon the 
roof had banished silence. Like some dripping 
cavern, the chambers of the house were haunted by 
an incessant echoing, which filled the ear and mingled 
with the ticking of the clocks. And, as Markheim 
approached the door, he seemed to hear, in answer 
to his own cautious tread, the steps of another foot 
withdrawing up the stair. The shadow still palpi- 
tated loosely on the threshold. He threw a ton's 
weight of resolve upon his muscles, and drew back 
the door. 

The faint, foggy daylight glimmered dimly on the 

bare floor and stairs ; on the bright suit of armour 

posted, halbert in hand, upon the landing : and on 

the dark wood-carvings, and framed pictures that 

230 



MARKHEIM 

hung- against the yellow panels of the wainscot. So 
loud was the beating of the rain through all the 
house that, in Markheim's ears, it began to be dis- 
tinguished into many different sounds. Footsteps 
and sighs, the tread of regiments marching in the 
distance, the chink of money in the counting, and 
the creaking of doors held stealthily ajar, appeared 
to mingle with the patter of the drops upon the 
cupola and the gushing of the water in the pipes. 
The sense that he was not alone grew upon him to 
the verge of madness. On every side he was haunted 
and begirt by presences. He heard them moving 
in the upper chambers ; from the shop he heard the 
dead man getting to his legs ; and as he began with 
a great effort to mount the stairs, feet fled quietly 
before him and followed stealthily behind. If he 
were but deaf, he thought, how tranquilly he would 
possess his soul ! And then again, and hearkening 
with ever fresh attention, he blessed himself for that 
unresting sense which held the outposts and stood 
a trusty sentinel upon his life. His head turned 
continually on his neck ; his eyes, which seemed 
starting from their orbits, scouted on every side, and 
on every side were half-rewarded as with the tail of 
something nameless vanishing. The four-and-twenty 
steps to the first floor were four-and-twenty agonies. 
On that first story, the doors stood ajar, three of 
them like three ambushes, shaking his nerves like the 
throats of cannon. He could never again, he felt, be 
sufficiently immured and fortified from men's observ- 
ing eyes ; he longed to be home, girt in by walls, 

231 



MARKHEIM 

buried among bedclothes, and invisible to all but God. 
And at that thought he wondered a little, recollect- 
ing tales of other murderers and the fear they were 
said to entertain of heavenly avengers. It was not 
so, at least, with him. He feared the laws of nature, 
lest, in their callous and immutable procedure, they 
should preserve some damning evidence of his crime. 
He feared tenfold more, with a slavish, superstitious 
terror, some scission in the continuity of man's ex- 
perience, some wilful illegality of nature. He played 
a game of skill, depending on the rules, calculating 
consequence from cause ; and what if nature, as 
the defeated tyrant overthrew the chess-board, should 
break the mould of their succession ? The like had 
befallen Napoleon (so writers said) when the winter 
changed the time of its appearance. The like might 
befall Markheim : the solid walls might become 
transparent and reveal his doings like those of bees 
in a glass hive ; the stout planks might yield under 
his foot like quicksands and detain him in their 
clutch ; ay, and there were soberer accidents that 
might destroy him : if, for instance, the house should 
fall and imprison him beside the body of his victim ; 
or the house next door should fly on fire, and the 
firemen invade him from all sides. These things he 
feared ; and, in a sense, these things might be called 
the hands of God reached forth against sin. But 
about God himself he was at ease : his act was 
doubtless exceptional, but so were his excuses, which 
God knew ; it was there, and not among men, that 
he felt sure of justice. 
232 



MARKHEIM 

When he had got safe into the drawing-room, and 
shut the door behind him, he was aware of a respite 
from alarms. The room was quite dismantled, un- 
carpeted besides, and strewn with packing-cases and 
incongruous furniture ; several great pier-glasses, in 
which he beheld himself at various angles, like an 
actor on a stage ; many pictures, framed and un- 
framed, standing with their faces to the wall ; a fine 
Sheraton sideboard, a cabinet of marquetry, and a 
great old bed, with tapestry hangings. The Avindows 
opened to the floor ; but by great good fortune the 
lower part of the shutters had been closed, and this 
concealed him from the neighbours. Here, then, 
Markheim drew in a packing-case before the cabinet, 
and began to search among the keys. It was a long 
business, for there were many ; and it was irksome 
besides ; for, after all, there might be nothing in the 
cabinet, and time was on the wing. But the close- 
ness of the occupation sobered him. With the tail 
of his eye he saw the door — even glanced at it from 
time to time directly, like a besieged commander, 
pleased to verify the good estate of his defences. 
But in truth he was at peace. The rain falling in 
the street sounded natural and pleasant. Presently, 
on the other side, the notes of a piano were wakened 
to the music of a hymn, and the voices of many 
children took up the air and words. How stately, 
how comfortable was the melody ! How fresh the 
youthful voices ! Markheim gave ear to it smilingly, 
as he sorted out the keys ; and his mind was 
thronged with answerable ideas and images ; church- 

233 



MARKHEIM 

going children and the pealing of the high organ ; 
children afield, bathers by the brookside, ramblers 
on the brambly common, kite-flyers in the windy 
and cloud-navigated sky ; and then, at another 
cadence of the hymn, back again to church, and the 
somnolence of summer Sundays, and the high genteel 
voice of the parson (which he smiled a little to re- 
call), and the painted Jacobean tombs, and the dim 
lettering of the Ten Commandments in the chancel. 

And as he sat thus, at once busy and absent, he 
was startled to his feet. A flash of ice, a flash of fire, 
a bursting gush of blood, went over him, and then 
he stood transfixed and thrilling. A step mounted 
the stair slowly and steadily, and presently a hand 
was laid upon the knob, and the lock clicked, and 
the door opened. 

Fear held Markheim in a vice. What to expect 
he knew not, whether the dead man walking, or the 
official ministers of human justice, or some chance 
witness blindly stumbling in to consign him to the 
gallows. But when a face was thrust into the aper- 
ture, glanced round the room, looked at him, nodded 
and smiled as if in friendly recognition, and then 
withdrew again, and the door closed behind it, his 
fear broke loose from his control in a hoarse cry. 
At the sound of this the visitant returned. 

' Did you call me ? ' he asked pleasantly, and 
with that he entered the room and closed the door 
behind him. 

Markheim stood and gazed at him with all his 
eyes. Perhaps there was a film upon his sight, but 
234 



MARKHEIM 

the outlines of the new-comer seemed to change and 
waver like those of the idols in the wavering candle- 
light of the shop ; and at times he thought he knew 
him ; and at times he thought he bore a likeness to 
himself; and always, like a lump of living terror, 
there lay in his bosom the conviction that this thing 
was not of the earth and not of God. 

And yet the creature had a strange air of the com- 
monplace, as he stood looking on Markheim with a 
smile ; and when he added : ' You are looking for 
the money, I believe ? ' it was in the tones of every- 
day politeness. 

Markheim made no answer. 

' I should warn you,' resumed the other, ' that the 
maid has left her sweetheart earlier than usual and 
will soon be here. If Mr. Markheim be found in 
this house, I need not describe to him the con- 
sequences.' 

1 You know me ? ' cried the murderer. 

The visitor smiled. 'You have long been a 
favourite of mine,' he said ; ' and I have long ob- 
served and often sought to help you.' 

' What are you ? ' cried Markheim, ' the devil ? ' 

'AYhat I may be,' returned the other, 'cannot 
affect the service I propose to render you.' 

' It can,' cried Markheim ; ' it does ! Be helped 
by you ? No, never ; not by you ! You do not 
know me yet ; thank God, you do not know me ! ' 

' I know you,' replied the visitant, with a sort of 
kind severity, or rather firmness. ' I know you to 
the soul.' 

235 



MARKHEIM 

' Know me ! ' cried Markheim. ' Who can do so ? 
My life is but a travesty and slander on myself. I 
have lived to belie my nature. All men do ; all men 
are better than this disguise, that grows about and 
stifles them. You see each dragged away by life, 
like one whom bravos have seized and muffled in a 
cloak. If they had their own control — if you could 
see their faces, they would be altogether different, 
they would shine out for heroes and saints ! I am 
worse than most ; myself is more overlaid ; my 
excuse is known to me and God. But, had I the 
time, I could disclose myself.' 

' To me ? ' inquired the visitant. 

' To you before all,' returned the murderer. ' I 
supposed you were intelligent. I thought — since you 
exist — you would prove a reader of the heart. And 
yet you would propose to judge me by my acts ! 
Think of it ; my acts ! I was born and I have lived 
in a land of giants ; giants have dragged me by the 
wrists since I was born out of my mother — the 
giants of circumstance. And you would judge me 
by my acts ! But can you not look within ? Can 
you not understand that evil is hateful to me? 
Can you not see within me the clear writing of 
conscience, never blurred by any wilful sophistry, 
although too often disregarded ? Can you not read 
me for a thing that surely must be common as 
humanity — the unwilling sinner ? ' 

'All this is very feelingly expressed,' was the 
reply, ' but it regards me not. These points of con- 
sistency are beyond my province, and I care not in 
236 



MARKHEIM 

the least by what compulsion you may have been 
dragged away, so as you are but carried in the right 
direction. But time flies ; the servant delays, look- 
ing in the faces of the crowd and at the pictures on 
the hoardings, but still she keeps moving nearer ; 
and remember, it is as if the gallows itself was 
striding towards you through the Christmas streets ! 
Shall I help you ; I, who know all ? Shall I tell 
you where to find the money ? ' 

' For what price ? ' asked Markheim. 

' I offer you the service for a Christmas gift,' 
returned the other. 

Markheim could not refrain from smiling with a 
kind of bitter triumph. ' No,' said he, ' I will take 
nothing at your hands ; if I were dying of thirst, 
and it was your hand that put the pitcher to my 
lips, I should find the courage to refuse. It may be 
credulous, but I will do nothing to commit myself 
to evil.' 

' I have no objection to a deathbed repentance,' 
observed the visitant. 

* Because you disbelieve their efficacy ! ' Markheim 
cried. 

' I do not say so,' returned the other ; ' but I look 
on these things from a different side, and when the 
life is done my interest falls. The man has lived to 
serve me, to spread black looks under colour of 
religion, or to sow tares in the wheat-field, as you do, 
in a course of weak compliance with desire. Now 
that he draws so near to his deliverance, he can add 
but one act of service — to repent, to die smiling, and 

237 



MARKHEIM 

thus to build up in confidence and hope the more 
timorous of my surviving followers. I am not so 
hard a master. Try me. Accept my help. Please 
yourself in life as you have done hitherto ; please 
yourself more amply, spread your elbows at the 
board ; and when the night begins to fall and the 
curtains to be drawn, I tell you, for your greater 
comfort, that you will find it even easy to compound 
your quarrel with your conscience, and to make a 
truckling peace with God. I came but now from 
such a deathbed, and the room was full of sincere 
mourners, listening to the man's last words : and 
when I looked into that face, which had been set 
as a flint against mercy, I found it smiling with 
hope.' 

' And do you, then, suppose me such a creature ? ' 
asked Markheim. ' Do you think I have no more 
generous aspirations than to sin, and sin, and sin, 
and, at the last, sneak into heaven ? My heart rises 
at the thought. Is this, then, your experience of 
mankind? or is it because you find me with red 
hands that you presume such baseness ? and is this 
crime of murder indeed so impious as to dry up the 
very springs of good ? ' 

* Murder is to me no special category,' replied the 
other. ' All sins are murder, even as all life is war. 
I behold your race, like starving mariners on a raft, 
plucking crusts out of the hands of famine and feed- 
ing on each other's lives. I follow sins beyond the 
moment of their acting ; I find in all that the last 
consequence is death ; and to my eyes, the pretty 
238 



B 



MARKHEIM 

maid who thwarts her mother with such taking 
graces on a question of a ball, drips no less visibly 
with human gore than such a murderer as yourself. 
Do I say that I follow sins ? I follow virtues also ; 
they differ not by the thickness of a nail, they are 
both scythes for the reaping angel of Death. Evil, 
for which I live, consists not in action but in char- 
acter. The bad man is dear to me ; not the bad act, 
whose fruits, if we could follow them far enough 
down the hurtling cataract of the ages, might yet be 
found more blessed than those of the rarest virtues. 
And it is not because you have killed a dealer, but 
because you are Markheim, that I offer to forward 
your escape.' 

' I will lay my heart open to you,' answered 
Markheim. 'This crime on which you find me is 
my last. On my way to it I have learned many 
lessons ; itself is a lesson, a momentous lesson. 
Hitherto I have been driven with revolt to what I 
would not ; I was a bond-slave to poverty, driven 
and scourged. There are robust virtues that can 
stand in these temptations ; mine was not so : I had 
a thirst of pleasure. But to-day, and out of this 
deed, I pluck both warning and riches — both the 
power and a fresh resolve to be myself. I become 
in all things a free actor in the world ; I begin to see 
myself all changed, these hands the agents of good, 
this heart at peace. Something comes over me out 
of the past ; something of what I have dreamed on 
Sabbath evenings to the sound of the church organ, 
of what I forecast when I shed tears over noble 

239 



MARKHEIM 

books, or talked, an innocent child, with my mother. 
There lies my life ; I have wandered a few years, but 
now I see once more my city of destination.' 

' You are to use this money on the Stock Ex- 
change, I think ? ' remarked the visitor ; ' and there, 
if I mistake not, you have already lost some 
thousands ? ' 

' Ah,' said Markheim, ' but this time I have a sure 
thing.' 

' This time, again, you will lose,' replied the visitor 
quietly. 

' Ah, but I keep back the half ! ' cried Markheim. 

' That also you will lose,' said the other. 

The sweat started upon Markheim's brow. ' Well, 
then, what matter ? ' he exclaimed. ' Say it be lost, 
say I am plunged again in poverty, shall one part of 
me, and that the worse, continue until the end to 
override the better ? Evil and good run strong in 
me, haling me both ways. I do not love the one 
thing, I love all. 1 can conceive great deeds, renun- 
ciations, martyrdoms ; and though I be fallen to 
such a crime as murder, pity is no stranger to my 
thoughts. I pity the poor ; who knows their trials 
better than myself? I pity and help them ; I prize 
love, I love honest laughter ; there is no good thing 
nor true thing on earth but I love it from my heart. 
And are my vices only to direct my life, and my 
virtues to lie without effect, like some passive 
lumber of the mind ? Not so ; good, also, is a 
spring of acts.' 

But the visitant raised his finger. ' For six-and- 
240 



MARKHEIM 

thirty years that you have been in this world,' said 
he, 'through many changes of fortune and varieties 
of humour, I have watched you steadily fall. Fif- 
teen years ago you would have started at a theft. 
Three years back you would have blenched at the 
name of murder. Is there any crime, is there any 
cruelty or meanness, from which you still recoil ? — 
five years from now I shall detect you in the fact ! 
Downward, downward, lies your way ; nor can any- 
thing but death avail to stop you.' 

' It is true,' Markheim said huskily, ' I have in 
some degree complied with evil. But it is so with 
all : the very saints, in the mere exercise of living, 
grow less dainty, and take on the tone of their 
surroundings.' 

' I will propound to you one simple question,' said 
the other ; ' and as you answer, I shall read to you 
your moral horoscope. You have grown in many 
things more lax ; possibly you do right to be so ; and 
at any account, it is the same with all men. But 
granting that, are you in any one particular, however 
trifling, more difficult to please with your own con- 
duct, or do you go in all things with a looser rein ? ' 

1 In any one ? ' repeated Markheim, with an 
anguish of consideration. ' No,' he added, with 
despair, 'in none ! I have gone down in all.' 

' Then,' said the visitor, ' content yourself with 
what you are, for you will never change ; and the 
words of your part on this stage are irrevocably 
written down.' 

Markheim stood for a long while silent, and indeed 
8 — q 241 



MARKHEIM 

it was the visitor who first broke the silence. ' That 
being so,' he said, ' shall I show you the money ? ' 

' And grace ? ' cried Markheim. 

' Have you not tried it ? ' returned the other. 
' Two or three years ago, did I not see you on the 
platform of revival meetings, and was not your voice 
the loudest in the hymn ? ' 

' It is true,' said Markheim ; ' and I see clearly 
what remains for me by way of duty. I thank you 
for these lessons from my soul ; my eyes are opened, 
and I behold myself at last for what I am.' 

At this moment, the sharp note of the door-bell 
rang through the house ; and the visitant, as though 
this were some concerted signal for which he had 
been waiting, changed at once in his demeanour. 

' The maid ! ' he cried. ' She has returned, as I 
forewarned you, and there is now before you one 
more difficult passage. Her master, you must say, 
is ill ; you must let her in, with an assured but rather 
serious countenance — no smiles, no over-acting, and 
1 promise you success ! Once the girl within, and 
the door closed, the same dexterity that has already 
rid you of the dealer will relieve you of this last 
danger in your path. Thenceforward you have the 
whole evening — the whole night, if needful— to ran- 
sack the treasures of the house and to make good 
your safety. This is help- that comes to you with 
the mask of danger. Up ! ' lie cried ; ' up, friend ; 
your life hangs trembling in the scales : up, and 
act! ' 

Markheim steadily regarded his counsellor. ' If 
242 



MARKHEIM 

I be condemned to evil acts,' he said, ' there is still 
one door of freedom open — I can cease from action. 
If my life be an ill thing, I can lay it down. Though 
I be, as you say truly, at the beck of every small 
temptation, I can yet, by one decisive gesture, place 
myself beyond the reach of all. My love of good is 
damned to barrenness ; it may, and let it be ! But 
I have still my hatred of evil ; and from that, to your 
galling disappointment, you shall see that I can draw 
both energy and courage.' 

The features of the visitor began to undergo a 
wonderful and lovely change : they brightened and 
softened with a tender triumph, and, even as they 
brightened, faded and dislimned. But Markheim 
did not pause to watch or understand the trans- 
formation. He opened the door and went down- 
stairs very slowly, thinking to himself. His past 
went soberly before him ; he beheld it as it Avas, 
ugly and strenuous like a dream, random as chance- 
medley— a scene of defeat. Life, as he thus reviewed 
it, tempted him no longer ; but on the farther side 
he perceived a quiet haven for his bark. He paused 
in the passage, and looked into the shop, where 
the candle still burned by the dead body. It was 
strangely silent. Thoughts of the dealer swarmed 
into his mind, as he stood gazing. And then the 
bell once more broke out into impatient clamour. 

He confronted the maid upon the threshold with 
something like a smile. 

'You had better go for the police,' said he: 'I 
have killed your master.' 

243 



THRAWN JANET 

The Reverend Murdoch Soulis was long minister 

of the moorland parish of Balweary, in the vale of 

Dule. A severe, bleak-faced old man, dreadful to 

his hearers, he dwelt in the last years of his life, 

without relative or servant or any human company, 

in the small and lonely manse under the Hanging 

Shaw. In spite of the iron composure of his features, 

his eye was wild, scared, and uncertain ; and when 

he dwelt, in private admonitions, on the future of 

the impenitent, it seemed as if his eye pierced 

through the storms of time to the terrors of eternity. 

Many young persons, coming to prepare themselves 

against the season of the Holy Communion, were 

dreadfully affected by his talk. He had a sermon 

on 1st Peter v. and 8th, ' The devil as a roaring lion,' 

on the Sunday after every seventeenth of August, 

and he was accustomed to surpass himself upon that 

text both by the appalling nature of the matter and 

the terror of his bearing in the pulpit. The children 

were frightened into fits, and the old looked more 

than usually oracular, and were, all that day, full of 

those hints that Hamlet deprecated. The manse 

244 



THRAWN JANET 

itself, where it stood by the water of Dule among 
some thick trees, with the Shaw overhanging it on 
the one side, and on the other many cold, moorish 
hill-tops rising towards the sky, had begun, at a very 
early period of Mr. Souliss ministry, to be avoided 
in the dusk hours by all who valued themselves upon 
their prudence ; and guidmen sitting at the clachan 
alehouse shook their heads together at the thought 
of passing late by that uncanny neighbourhood. 
There was one spot, to be more particular, which 
was regarded with especial awe. The manse stood 
between the high-road and the water of Dule, with 
a gable to each ; its back was towards the kirktown 
of Balweary, nearly half a mile away ; in front of it, 
a bare garden, hedged with thorn, occupied the land 
between the river and the road. The house was 
two stories high, with two large rooms on each. It 
opened not directly on the garden, but on a cause- 
wayed path, or passage, giving on the road on the 
one hand, and closed on the other by the tall willows 
and elders that bordered on the stream. And it was 
this strip of causeway that enjoyed among the young 
parishioners of Balweary so infamous a reputation. 
The minister walked there often after dark, some- 
times groaning aloud in the instancy of his unspoken 
prayers ; and when he was from home, and the 
manse door was locked, the more daring schoolboys 
ventured, with beating hearts, to ' follow my leader ' 
across that legendary spot. 

This atmosphere of terror, surrounding, as it did, 
a man of God of spotless character and orthodoxy, 

245 



THRAWN JANET 

was a common cause of wonder and subject of inquiry 
among the few strangers who were led by chance or 
business into that unknown, outlying country. But 
many even of the people of the parish were ignorant 
of the strange events which had marked the first year 
of Mr. Soulis's ministrations ; and among those who 
were better informed, some were naturally reticent, 
and others shy of that particular topic. Now and 
again, only, one of the older folk would warm into 
courage over his third tumbler, and recount the 
cause of the minister's strange looks and solitary life. 

Fifty years syne, when Mr. Soulis cam' first into 
Ba' weary, he was still a young man — a callant, the 
folk said— fu' o' book-learnin' an' grand at the 
exposition, but, as was natural in sae young a man, 
wi' nae leevin' experience in religion. The younger 
sort were greatly taken wi' his gifts an' his gab ; but 
auld, concerned, serious men and women were moved 
even to prayer for the young man, whom they took 
to be a self-deceiver, an' the parish that was like to 
be sae ill-supplied. It was before the days o' the 
Moderates — weary fa' them ; but ill things are like 
guid — they baith come bit by bit, a pickle at a 
time ; an' there were folk even then that said the 
Lord had left the college professors to their ain 
devices, an' the lads that went to study wi' them 
wad hae done mair an' better sittin' in a peat-bog, 
like their forebears o' the persecution, wi' a Bible 
under their oxter an' a speerit o' prayer in their 
heart. There was nae doubt, onyway, but that Mr. 
246 



THRAWN JANET 

Sou lis had been ower Lang at the college. He was 
careful an' troubled for mony things besides the ae 
thing needful. He had a feck o' books wi' him — 
mair than had ever been seen before in a' that pres- 
bytery ; and a sair wark the carrier had wi' them, 
for they were a' like to have smoored in the De'il's 
Hag between this an' Kilmackerlie. They were 
books o' divinity, to be sure, or so they cad them ; 
but the serious were of opinion there was little service 
for sae mony, when the hale o' God's Word would 
gang in the neuk o' a plaid. Then he wad sit half 
the day, an' half the nicht forbye, which was scant 
decent— wri tin', nae less ; an' first, they were feared 
he wad read his sermons ; an' syne it proved he was 
writin' a book himsel', which was surely no' fittin' for 
ane o' his years an' sma' experience. 

Onyway it behoved him to get an auld, decent 
wife to keep the manse for him an' see to his bit 
denners ; an' he was recommended to an auld limmer 
— Janet M 'Clour, they cad her — an' sae far left to 
himsel' as to be ower persuaded. There was mony 
advised him to the contrar, for Janet was mair than 
suspeckit by the best folk in Ba' weary. Lang or 
that, she had had a wean to a dragoon ; she hadna 
come forrit 1 for maybe thretty year ; an' bairns had 
seen her mumblin' to hersel' up on Key's Loan in 
the gloamin', whilk was an unco time an' place for 
a God-fearin' woman. Howsoever, it was the laird 
himsel' that had first tauld the minister o' Janet ; 
an' in thae days he wad hae gane a far gate to 

1 ' To come forrit ' — to offer oneself as a communicant. 

247 



THRAWN JANET 

pleesure the laird. When folk tauld him that Janet 
was sib to the de'il, it was a' superstition by his way 
o' it ; an' when they cast up the Bible to him an' 
the witch o' Endor, he wad threep it doun their 
thrapples that thir days were a' gane by, an' the 
de'il was mercifully restrained. 

Weel, when it got about the clachan that Janet 
M'Clour was to be servant at the manse, the folk 
were fair mad wi' her an' him thegither; an' some 
o' the guidwives had nae better to dae than get 
round her door-cheeks and chairge her wi' a' that 
was ken't again' her, frae the sodger's bairn to John 
Tamson's twa kye. She was nae great speaker ; folk 
usually let her gang her ain gate, an' she let them 
gang theirs, wi' neither Fair-guid-een nor Fair-guid- 
day : but when she buckled to, she had a tongue to 
deave the miller. Up she got, an' there wasna an 
auld story in Ba'weary but she gart somebody lowp 
for it that day ; they couldna say ae thing but she 
could say twa to it ; till, at the hinder end, the guid- 
wives up and claught haud o' her, an' clawed the 
coats aff her back, an' pu'd her doun the clachan to 
the water o' Dule, to see if she were a witch or no, 
soom or droun. The carline skirled till ye could 
hear her at the Hangin' Shaw, an' she focht like 
ten ; there was mony a guidw r ife bure the mark o' 
her neist day an' mony a lang day after ; an' just in 
the hettest o' the collieshangie, wha suld come up 
(for his sins) but the new minister ! 

' Women,' said he (and he had a grand voice), ' I 
charge you in the Lord's name to let her go.' 
248 



THRAWN JANET 

Janet ran to him — she was fair wud wi' terror — 
an' clang to him, an' prayed him, for Christ's sake, 
save her frae the cummers ; an' they, for their pairt, 
tank! him a' that was ken't, an' maybe mair. 

' Woman,' says he to Janet, ' is this true ? ' 

' As the Lord sees me,' says she, ' as the Lord 
made me, no a word o't. Forbye the bairn,' says 
she, ' I ve been a decent woman a' my days.' 

' Will you,' says Mr. Soulis, ' in the name of God, 
and before me, His unworthy minister, renounce the 
devil and his works ? ' 

Weel, it wad appear that when he askit that, she 
gave a girn that fairly frichtit them that saw her, an' 
they could hear her teeth play dirl thegither in her 
chafts ; but there was naething for 't but the ae way 
or the ither ; an' Janet lifted up her hand an' re- 
nounced the de'il before them a'. 

'And now,' says Mr. Soulis to the guidwives, 
' home with ye, one and all, and pray to God for His 
forgiveness.' 

An' he gied Janet his arm, though she had little 
on her but a sark, an' took her up the clachan to 
her ain door like a leddy o' the land ; an' her 
screighin' an' laughin' as was a scandal to be heard. 

There were mony grave folk lang ower their 
prayers that nicht ; but when the morn cam' there 
was sic a fear fell upon a' Ba' weary that the bairns 
hid theirsels, an' even the men-folk stood and keekit 
frae their doors. For there was Janet comin' doun 
the clachan — her or her likeness, nane could tell — 
wi' her neck thrawn, an' her heid on ae side, like a 

249 



THRAWN JANET 

body that lias been hangit, an' a girn on her face 
like an unstreakit corp. By an' by they got used 
wi' it, an' even speered at her to ken what was 
wrang ; but frae that day forth she couldna speak 
like a Christian woman, but slavered an' played 
click wi' her teeth like a pair o' shears ; an' frae that 
day forth the name o' God cam' never on her lips. 
Whiles she wad try to say it, but it michtna be. 
Them that kenned best said least ; but they never 
gied that Thing the name o' Janet M'Clour ; for the 
auld Janet, by their way o't, was in muckle hell that 
day. But the minister was neither to haud nor to 
bind ; he preached about naething but the folk's 
cruelty that had gi'en her a stroke of the palsy ; he 
skelpit the bairns that meddled her ; an' he had her 
up to the manse that same nicht, an' d walled there 
a' his lane wi' her under the Hangin' Shaw. 

Weel, time gaed by : an' the idler sort com- 
menced to think mair lichtly o' that black business. 
The minister was weel thocht o' ; he was aye late 
at the writing, folk wad see his can'le doon by the 
Dule water after twal' at e'en ; an' he seemed 
pleased wi' himsel' an' upsitten as at first, though 
a'body could see that he was dwining. As for 
Janet she cam' an' she gaed ; if she didna speak 
muckle afore, it was reason she should speak less 
then ; she meddled naebody ; but she was an eldritch 
thing to see, an' nane wad hae mistrysted wi' her for 
Ba' weary glebe. 

About the end o' July there cam' a spell o' weather, 
the like o't never was in that countryside ; it was 
250 



TIIRAWN JANET 

lown an' liet an' heartless; the herds couldna win 
up the Black Hill, the bairns were ower weariet to 
play ; an' yet it was gousty too, wi' claps o' het wund 
that rummled in the glens, and bits o' shouers that 
slockened naething. We aye thocht it but to thun'er 
on the morn ; but the morn cam', an' the morn's 
morning, an' it was aye the same uncanny weather, 
sair on folks and bestial. O' a' that were the waur, 
nane suffered like Mr. Soulis ; he could neither sleep 
nor eat, he tauld his elders ; an' when he wasna 
writin' at his weary book, he wad be stravaguin' ower 
a' the countryside like a man possessed, when a'body 
else was blithe to keep caller ben the house. 

Abune Hangin' Shaw, in the bield o' the Black 
Hill, there 's a bit enclosed grund wi' an iron yett ; 
an' it seems, in the auld days, that was the kirkyaird 
o' Ba'weary, an' consecrated by the Papists before 
the blessed licht shone upon the kingdom. It was 
a great howff o' Mr. Soulis's, onyway ; there he 
wad sit an' consider his sermons ; an' indeed it 's 
a bieldy bit. Weel, as he cam' ower the wast end o' 
the Black Hill ae day, he saw first twa, an' syne 
fower, an' syne seeven corbie craws fleein' round an' 
round abune the auld kirkyaird. They flew laigh 
an' heavy, an' squawked to ither as they gaed ; an' 
it was clear to Mr. Soulis that something had put 
them frae their ordinar'. He wasna easy fleyed, an' 
gaed straucht up to the wa's ; an' what suld he find 
there but a man, or the appearance o' a man, sittin' 
in the inside upon a grave. He was of a great 
stature, an' black as hell, an' his e'en were singular 

251 



THRAWN JANET 

to see. 1 Mr. Soulis had heard tell o' black men, 
mony's the time ; but there was something unco 
about this black man that daunted him. Het as he 
was, he took a kind o' cauld grue in the marrow o' 
his banes ; but up he spak for a' that ; an' says he : 
' My friend, are you a stranger in this place ? ' The 
black man answered never a word ; he got upon his 
feet, an' begoud to hirsle to the wa' on the far side ; 
but he aye lookit at the minister ; an' the minister 
stood an' lookit back ; till a' in a meenit the black 
man was ower the wa' an' rinnin' for the bield o' the 
trees. Mr. Soulis, he hardly kenned why, ran after 
him ; but he was fair forjeskit wi' his walk an' the 
het, unhalesome weather ; an' rin as he likit, he got 
nae mair than a glisk o' the black man amang the 
birks, till he won doun to the foot o' the hillside, 
an' there he saw him ance mair, gaun hap-step-an'- 
lowp ower Dule water to the manse. 

Mr. Soulis wasna weel pleased that this fearsome 
gangrel suld mak' sae free wi' Ba'weary manse ; an' 
he ran the harder, an', wet shoon, ower the burn, an' 
up the walk ; but the deil a black man was there to 
see. He stepped out upon the road, but there was 
naebody there ; he gaed a' ower the gairden, but na, 
nae black man. At the hinder end, an' a bit feared, 
as was but natural, he lifted the hasp an' into the 
manse ; an' there was Janet M'Clour before his een, 
wi' her thrawn craig, an' nane sae pleased to see 

1 It was a common belief iu Scotland that the devil appeared as a 
black man. This appears in several witch trials, and I think iu Law's 
Memorials, that delightful storehouse of the quaint and grisly. 
252 



THRAWN JANET 

him. An' he aye minded sinsyne, when first he set 
his een upon her, he had the same cauld and deidly 
grue. 

'Janet,' says he, ' have yon seen a black man ? ' 

' A black man ? ' quo' she. ' Save ns a' ! Ye 're 
no wise, minister. There 's nae black man in a' 
Ba' weary. ' 

But she didna speak plain, ye maun understand ; 
but yam-yammered, like a powney wi' the bit in its 
moo. 

1 Weel,' says he, ' Janet, if there was nae black 
man, I have spoken with the Accuser of the Brethren.' 

An' he sat down like ane wi' a fever, an' his teeth 
cluttered in his heid. 

' Hoots,' says she, ' think shame to yonrsel', 
minister ' ; an' gied him a drap brandy that she keept 
aye by her. 

Syne Mr. Soulis gaed into his study amang a' his 
books. It's a lang, laigh, mirk chalmer, perishin' 
cauld in winter, an' no' very dry even in the tap o' 
the simmer, for the manse stands near the burn. 
Sae doun he sat, an' thocht o' a' that had come an' 
gane since he was in Ba'weary, an' his hame, an' the 
days when he was a bairn an' ran daffin' on the 
braes ; an' that black man aye ran in his heid like 
the owercome o' a sang. Aye the mair he thocht, 
the mair he thocht o' the black man. He tried the 
prayer, an' the words wadna come to him ; an' he 
tried, they say, to write at his book, but he could- 
na mak' nae mair o' that. There was whiles he 
thocht the black man was at his oxter, an' the swat 

253 



THRAWN JANET 

stood upon him cauld as well-water ; an' there was 
ither whiles, when he cam' to himsel' like a christened 
bairn an' minded naething. 

The upshot was that he gaed to the window an' 
stood glowrin' at Dule water. The trees are unco 
thick, an' the water lies deep an' black under the 
manse ; an' there was Janet washin' the cla'es wi' 
her coats kilted. She had her back to the minister, 
an' he, for his pairt, hardly kenned what he was 
lookin' at. Syne she turned round, an' shawed her 
face ; Mr. Soulis had the same cauld grue as twice 
that day afore, an' it was borne in upon him what 
folk said, that Janet was deid lang syne, an' this was 
a bogle in her clay-cauld flesh. He drew back a 
pickle and he scanned her narrowly. She was tramp- 
trampin' in the cla'es, croonin' to hersel' ; and eh ! 
Gude guide us, but it was a fearsome face. Whiles 
she sang louder, but there was nae man born o' 
woman that could tell the words o' her sang ; an' 
whiles she lookit side-lang doun, but there was nae- 
thing there for her to look at. There gaed a scunner 
through the flesh upon his banes ; an' that was 
Heeven's advertisement. But Mr. Soulis just blamed 
himsel', he said, to think sae ill o' a puir, auld afflicted 
wife that hadna a freend forbye himsel' ; an' he put 
up a bit prayer for him an' her, an' drank a little 
caller water — for his heart rose again' the meat — an' 
gaed up to his naked bed in the gloamin'. 

That was a nicht that has never been forgotten 
in Ba' weary, the nicht o' the seeventeenth o' August 
seeventcen hun'er' an' twal'. It had been het afore, 
254 



THRAWN JANET 

as I hae said, but that nicht it was lietter than ever. 
The sun gaed doun amang unco-lookin' clouds ; it 
fell as mirk as the pit ; no' a star, no' a breath o' 
wund ; ye couldna see your han' afore your face, 
an' even the auld folk cuist the covers frae their 
beds an' lay pechin' for their breath. Wi' a' that 
he had upon his mind, it was gey an unlikely 
Mr. Soulis wad get muckle sleep. He lay an' he 
tummled ; the gude, caller bed that he got into 
brunt his very banes ; whiles he slept, an' whiles he 
waukened ; whiles he heard the time o' nicht, an' 
whiles a tyke yowlin' up the muir, as if somebody 
was deid ; whiles he thocht he heard bogles claverin' 
in his lug, an' whiles he saw spunkies in the room. 
He behoved, he judged, to be sick ; an' sick he was 
— little he jaloosed the sickness. 

At the hinder end he got a clearness in his mind, 
sat up in his sark on the bed-side, an' fell thinkin' 
ance mair o' the black man an' Janet. He couldna 
weel tell how — maybe it was the cauld to his feet — 
but it cam' in upon him wi' a spate that there was 
some connection between thir twa, an' that either 
or baith o' them were bogles. An' just at that 
moment, in Janet's room, which was neist to his, 
there cam' a stramp o' feet as if men were wars'lin', 
an' then a loud bang ; an' then a wund gaed reish- 
ling round the fower quarters o' the house ; an' then 
a' was aince mair as seelent as the grave. 

Mr. Soulis was feared for neither man nor deevil. 
He got his tinder-box, an' lit a can'le, an' made three 
steps o't ower to Janet's door. It was on the hasp, 

255 



THRAWN JANET 

an' he pushed it open, an' keekit bauldly in. It 
was a big room, as big as the minister's ain, an' 
plenished wi' grand, auld, solid gear, for he had nae- 
thing else. There was a fower-posted bed wi' auld 
tapestry ; an' a braw cabinet o' aik, that was fu' o' 
the minister's divinity books, an' put there to be out 
o' the gate ; an' a wheen duds o' Janet's lying here 
an' there about the floor. But nae Janet could Mr. 
Soulis see ; nor ony sign o' a contention. In he 
gaed (an' there 's few that wad hae followed him) 
an' lookit a' round, an' listened. But there was nae- 
thing to be heard, neither inside the manse nor in 
a' Ba'weary parish, and naething to be seen but the 
muckle shadows turnin' round the can'le. An' then 
a' at aince the minister's heart played dunt an' stood 
stock-still ; an' a cauld wund blew amang the hairs 
o' his heid. Whaten a weary sicht was that for the 
puir man's een ! For there was Janet hangin' frae a 
nail beside the auld aik cabinet : her heid aye lay on 
her shouther, her een were steekit, the tongue pro- 
jected frae her mouth, an' her heels were twa feet 
clear abune the floor. 

' God forgive us all ! ' thocht Mr. Soulis ; ' poor 
Janet 's dead.' 

He cam' a step nearer to the corp ; an' then his 
heart fair whammled in his inside. For, by what 
cantrip it wad ill beseem a man to judge, she was 
hingin' frae a single nail an' by a single wursted 
thread for darnin' hose. 

It's an awfu' thing to be your lane at nicht wi' 
siccan prodigies o' darkness ; but Mr. Soulis was 
256 



THRAWN JANET 

strong in the Lord. He turned an' gaed his ways 
oot o' that room, an' lockit the door ahint him ; an' 
step by step, doon the stairs, as heavy as leed ; an' 
set doon the can'le on the table at the stairfoot. 
He couldna pray, he couldna think, he was dreepin' 
wi' caul' swat, an' naething could he hear but the 
dunt-dunt-duntin' o' his ain heart. He micht maybe 
hae stood there an hour, or maybe twa, he minded 
sae little ; when a' of a sudden he heard a laigh, 
uncanny steer upstairs ; a foot gaed to an' fro in the 
chalmer whaur the corp was hingin' ; syne the door 
was opened, though he minded weel that he had 
lockit it ; an' syne there was a step upon the landin', 
an' it seemed to him as if the corp was lookin' ower 
the rail an' doun upon him whaur he stood. 

He took up the can'le again (for he couldna want 
the licht), an' as saftly as ever he could, gaed 
straucht out o' the manse an' to the far end o' the 
causeway. It was aye pit-mirk ; the flame o' the 
can'le, when he set it on the grund, brunt steedy and 
clear as in a room ; naething moved, but the Dule 
water seepin' an' sabbin' doun the glen, an' yon 
unhaly footstep that cam' ploddin' doun the stairs 
inside the manse. He kenned the foot ower weel, 
for it was Janet's ; an' at ilka step that cam' a wee 
thing nearer, the caidd got deeper in his vitals. He 
commended his soul to Him that made an' keepit 
him ; ' and, O Lord,' said he, ' give me strength this 
night to war against the powers of evil.' 

By this time the foot was comin' through the 
passage for the door ; he could hear a hand skirt 
8— R 257 



THRAWN JANET 

alang the wa', as if the fearsome thing was feelin' 
for its way. The saughs tossed an' maned thegither, 
a lang sigh cam' ower the hills, the flame o' the 
can'le was blawn aboot ; an' there stood the corp o' 
Thrawn Janet, wi' her grogram goun an' her black 
mutch, wi' the heid aye upon the shouther, an' the 
girn still upon the face o't — leevin', ye wad hae 
said — deid, as Mr. Soulis weel kenned — upon the 
threshold o' the manse. 

It 's a strange tiling that the saul o' man should 
be that thirled into his perishable body ; but the 
minister saw that, an' his heart didna break. 

She didna stand there lang ; she began to move 
again an' cam' slowly towards Mr. Soulis whaur he 
stood under the saughs. A' the life o' his body, a' 
the strength o' his speerit, were glowerin' frae his 
een. It seemed she was gaun to speak, but wanted 
words, an' made a sign wi' the left hand. There 
cam' a clap o' wund, like a cat's fuff; oot gaed the 
can'le, the saughs skreighed like folk ; an' Mr. Soulis 
kenned that, live or die, this was the end o't. 

' Witch, beldame, devil ! ' he cried, ' I charge you, 
by the power of God, be gone — if you be dead, to 
the grave — if you be damned, to hell.' 

An' at that moment the Lord's ain hand out o' 
the Heevens struck the Horror whaur it stood ; the 
auld, deid, desecrated corp o' the witch-wife, sae 
lang keepit frae th^ grave an' hirsled round by de'ils, 
lowed up like a brunstane spunk an' fell in ashes to 
the grund ; the thunder followed, peal on dirlin' 
peal, the rairin' rain upon the back o' that; an' Mr. 
25** 



THRAWN JANET 

Soulis lovvped through the garden hedge, an' ran, 
wi' skelloch upon skelloch, for the clachan. 

That same mornin' John Christie saw the Black 
Man pass the Muckle Cairn as it was chappin' six ; 
before eicht he gaed by the change-house at Knock- 
dow ; an' no' lang after, Sandy M'Lellan saw liim 
gaui) linkin' doun the braes frae Kihnackerlie. 
There s little doubt but it was him that dwalled sae 
lang in Janet's body ; but he was awa' at last ; an' 
sinsyne the de'il has never fashed us in Ba'weary. 

But it was a sair dispensation for the minister ; 
lang, lang he lay ravin' in his bed ; an' frae that 
hour to this he was the man ye ken the day. 



259 



OLALLA 

' Now,' said the doctor, ' my part is done, and, I may 
say, with some vanity, well done. It remains only 
to get you out of this cold and poisonous city, and 
to give you two months of a pure air and an easy 
conscience. The last is your affair. To the first 1 
think I can help you. It falls indeed rather oddly ; 
it was but the other day the Padre came in from the 
country ; and as he and I are old friends, although 
of contrary professions, he applied to me in a matter 
of distress among some of his parishioners. This 
was a family — but you are ignorant of Spain, and 
even the names of our grandees are hardly known to 
you ; suffice it, then, that they were once great 
people, and are now fallen to the brink of desti- 
tution. Nothing now belongs to them but the 
residencia, and certain leagues of desert mountain, 
in the greater part of which not even a goat could 
support life. But the house is a fine old place, and 
stands at a great height among the hills, and most 
salubriously ; and I had no sooner heard my friend's 
tale than I remembered you. I told him I had a 
wounded officer, wounded in the good cause, who 
260 



OLALLA 

was now able to make a change ; and 1 proposed 
that his friends should take you for a lodger. 
Instantly the Padre's face grew dark, as I had 
maliciously foreseen it would. It was out of the 
question, he said. Then let them starve, said I, 
for I have no sympathy with tatterdemalion pride. 
Thereupon we separated, not very content with one 
another ; but yesterday, to my wonder, the Padre 
returned and made a submission : the difficulty, he 
said, he had found upon inquiry to be less than he 
had feared ; or, in other words, these proud people 
had put their pride in their pocket. I closed with 
the offer ; and, subject to your approval, I have 
taken rooms for you in the residencia. The air of 
these mountains will renew your blood ; and the 
quiet in which you will there live is worth all the 
medicines in the world.' 

' Doctor,' said I, ' you have been throughout my 
good angel, and your advice is a command. But 
tell me, if you please, something of the family with 
which I am to reside.' 

' I am coming to that,' replied my friend ; ' and, 
indeed, there is a difficulty in the way. These 
beggars are, as I have said, of very high descent, and 
swollen with the most baseless vanity ; they have 
lived for some generations in a growing isolation, 
drawing away, on either hand, from the rich who 
had now become too high for them, and from the 
poor, whom they still regarded as too low ; and even 
to-day, when poverty forces them to unfasten their 
door to a guest, they cannot do so without a most 

261 



OLALLA 

ungracious stipulation. You are to remain, they 
say, a stranger ; they will give you attendance, but 
they refuse from the first the idea of the smallest 
intimacy.' 

I will not deny that I was piqued, and perhaps 
the feeling strengthened my desire to go, for I was 
confident that I could break down that barrier if I 
desired. ' There is nothing offensive in such a 
stipulation,' said I ; ' and I even sympathise with the 
feeling that inspired it.' 

' It is true, they have never seen you,' returned 
the doctor politely ; ' and if they knew you were the 
handsomest and the most pleasant man that ever 
came from England (where I am told that handsome 
men are common, but pleasant ones not so much so), 
they would doubtless make you welcome with a 
better grace. But since you take the thing so well, 
it matters not. To me, indeed, it seems discourteous. 
But you will find yourself the gainer. The family 
will not much tempt you. A mother, a son, and 
a daughter ; an old woman, said to be half-witted, a 
country lout, and a country girl, who stands very 
high with her confessor, and is, therefore,' chuckled 
the physician, ' most likely plain ; there is not much 
in that to attract the fancy of a dashing officer.' 

' And yet you say they are high-born,' I objected. 

' Well, as to that, I should distinguish,' returned 
the doctor. ' The mother is ; not so the children. 
The mother was the last representative of a princely 
stock, degenerate both in parts and fortune. Her 
father was not only poor, he was mad : and the girl 
262 



OLALLA 

ran wild about the residencia till his death. Then, 
much of the fortune having died with him, and the 
family being quite extinct, the girl ran wilder than 
ever, until at last she married, Heaven knows whom, 
a muleteer some say, others a smuggler ; while there 
are some who uphold there was no marriage at all, 
and that Felipe and Olalla are bastards. The union, 
such as it was, was tragically dissolved some years 
ago ; but they live in such seclusion, and the country 
at that time was in so much disorder, that the pre- 
cise manner of the man's end is known only to the 
priest — if even to him. ' 

' I begin to think I shall have strange experiences,' 
said I. 

' I would not romance, if I were you,' replied the 
doctor; 'you will find, I fear, a very grovelling and 
commonplace reality. Felipe, for instance, I have 
seen. And what am I to say ? He is very rustic, 
very cunning, very loutish, and, I should say, an 
innocent ; the others are probably to match. No, 
no, senor commandante, you must seek congenial 
society among the great sights of our mountains ; 
and in these at least, if you are at all a lover of 
the works of nature, I promise you will not be dis- 
appointed.' 

The next day Felipe came for me in a rough 
country cart, drawn by a mule ; and a little before 
the stroke of noon, after I had said farewell to the 
doctor, the innkeeper, and different good souls who 
had befriended me during my sickness, we set forth 
out of the city by the eastern gate, and began to 

26^? 



OLALLA 

ascend into the Sierra. I had been so long a prisoner, 
since I was left behind for dying after the loss of the 
convoy, that the mere smell of the earth set me 
smiling. The country through which we went was 
wild and rocky, partially covered with rough woods, 
now of the cork-tree, and now of the great Spanish 
chestnut, and frequently intersected by the beds of 
mountain torrents. The sun shone, the wind rustled 
joyously ; and we had advanced some miles, and the 
city had already shrunk into an inconsiderable knoll 
upon the plain behind us, before my attention began 
to be diverted to the companion of my drive. To 
the eye, he seemed but a diminutive, loutish, well- 
made country lad, such as the doctor had described, 
mighty quick and active, but devoid of any culture ; 
and this first impression was with most observers 
final. What began to strike me was his familiar, 
chattering talk ; so strangely inconsistent with the 
terms on which I was to be received ; and partly 
from his imperfect enunciation, partly from the 
sprightly incoherence of the matter, so very difficult 
to follow clearly without an effort of the mind. It 
is true I had before talked with persons of a similar 
mental constitution ; persons who seemed to live (as 
he did) by the senses, taken and possessed by the 
visual object of the moment and unable to discharge 
their minds of that impression. His seemed to me 
(as I sat, distantly giving ear) a kind of conversation 
proper to drivers, who pass much of their time in 
a great vacancy of the intellect and threading the 
sights of a familiar country. But this was not the 
264 



OLALLA 

case of Felipe ; by his own account, he was a home- 
keeper ; ' I wish I was there now,' he said ; and 
then, spying a tree by the wayside, he broke off to 
tell me that he had once seen a crow among its 
branches. 

' A crow ? ' I repeated, struck by the ineptitude of 
the remark, and thinking I had heard imperfectly. 

But by this time he was already rilled with a new 
idea ; hearkening with a rapt intentness, his head 
on one side, his face puckered ; and he struck me 
rudely, to make me hold my peace. Then he smiled 
and shook his head. 

' What did you hear? ' I asked. 

' Oh, it is all right,' he said ; and began encourag- 
ing his mule Avith cries that echoed unhumanly up 
the mountain walls. 

I looked at him more closely. He was superla- 
tively well-built, light, and lithe and strong ; he 
was well-featured ; his yellow eyes were very large, 
though, perhaps, not very expressive ; take him alto- 
gether, he was a pleasant-looking lad, and I had no 
fault to find with him, beyond that he was of a dusky 
hue, and inclined to hairyness ; two characteristics 
that I disliked. It was his mind that puzzled, and 
yet attracted me. The doctor's phrase — an innocent 
— came back to me ; and I was wondering if that 
were, after all, the true description, when the road 
began to go down into the narrow and naked chasm 
of a torrent. The waters thundered tumultuonsly 
in the bottom ; and the ravine was filled full of the 
sound, the thin spray, and the claps of wind, that 

265 



OLALLA 

accompanied their descent. The scene was certainly 
impressive ; but the road was in that part very 
securely walled in ; the mule went steadily forward ; 
and I was astonished to perceive the paleness of 
terror in the face of my companion. The voice 
of that wild river was inconstant, now sinking lower 
as if in weariness, now doubling its hoarse tones ; 
momentary freshets seemed to swell its volume, 
sweeping down the gorge, raving and booming 
against the barrier walls ; and I observed it was at 
each of these accessions to the clamour that my 
driver more particularly winced and blanched. Some 
thoughts of Scottish superstition and the river-kelpie 
passed across my mind ; I wondered if perchance the 
like were prevalent in that part of Spain ; and turn- 
ing to Felipe, sought to draw him out. 

• What is the matter ? ' I asked. 

' Oh, I am afraid,' he replied. 

' Of what are you afraid ? ' I returned. ' This 
seems one of the safest places on this very dangerous 
road. ' 

' It makes a noise,' he said, with a simplicity of 
awe that set my doubts at rest. 

The lad was but a child in intellect ; his mind 
was like his body, active and swift, but stunted in 
development ; and I began from that time forth to 
regard him with a measure of pity, and to listen at 
first with indulgence, and at last even with pleasure, 
to his disjointed babble. 

By about four in the afternoon we had crossed 
the summit of the mountain line, said farewell to the 
266 



OLALLA 

western sunshine, and began to go down upon the 
other side, skirting the edge of many ravines and 
moving through the shadow of dusky woods. There 
rose upon all sides the voice of falling water, not 
condensed and formidable as in the gorge of the 
river, but scattered and sounding gaily and musically 
from glen to glen. Here, too, the spirits of my 
driver mended, and he began to sing aloud in a 
falsetto voice, and with a singular bluntness of musi- 
cal perception, never true either to melody or key, 
but wandering at will, and yet somehow with an 
effect that was natural and pleasing, like that of the 
song of birds. As the dusk increased, I fell more 
and more under the spell of this artless warbling, 
listening and waiting for some articulate air, and still 
disappointed ; and when at last I asked him what it 
was he sang — ' Oh,' cried he, ' I am just singing ! ' 
Above all, I was taken with a trick he had of un- 
weariedly repeating the same note at little intervals ; 
it was not so monotonous as you would think, or, at 
least, not disagreeable ; and it seemed to breathe a 
wonderful contentment with what is, such as we love 
to fancy in the attitude of trees, or the quiescence of 
a pool. 

Night had fallen dark before we came out upon a 
plateau, and drew up a little after, before a certain 
lump of superior blackness which I could only 
conjecture to be the residencia. Here my guide, 
getting down from the cart, hooted and whistled 
for a long time in vain ; until at last an old peasant 
man came towards us from somewhere in the sur- 

267 



OLALLA 

rounding dark, carrying a candle in his hand. By 
the light of this I was able to perceive a great arched 
doorway of a Moorish character : it was closed by 
iron studded gates, in one of the leaves of which 
Felipe opened a wicket. The peasant carried off 
the cart to some out-building ; but my guide and 
I passed through the wicket, which was closed again 
behind us ; and, by the glimmer of the candle, passed 
through a court, up a stone stair, along a section of 
an open gallery, and up more stairs again, until we 
came at last to the door of a great and somewhat 
bare apartment. This room, which I understood 
was to be mine, was pierced by three windows, lined 
with some lustrous wood disposed in panels, and 
carpeted with the skins of many savage animals. A 
bright fire burned in the chimney, and shed abroad 
a changeful flicker ; close up to the blaze there was 
drawn a table, laid for supper ; and in the far end 
a bed stood ready. I was pleased by these prepara- 
tions, and said so to Felipe ; and he, with the same 
simplicity of disposition that I had already remarked 
in him, warmly re-echoed my praises. ' A fine 
room,' he said ; ' a very fine room. And fire, too ; 
fire is good ; it melts out the pleasure in your 
bones. And the bed,' he continued, carrying over 
the candle in that direction — ' see what fine sheets — 
how soft, how smooth, smooth ' ; and he passed his 
hand again and again over their texture, and then 
laid down his head and rubbed his cheeks among 
them with a grossness of content that somehow 
offended me. I took the candle from his hand (for 
268 



OLALLA 

I feared lie would set the bed on fire) and walked 
back to the supper-table, where, perceiving a measure 
of wine, I poured out a cup and called to him to 
come and drink of it. He started to his feet at once 
and ran to me with a strong expression of hope ; but 
when he saw the wine he visibly shuddered. 

' Oh no,' he said, ' not that ; that is for you. I 
hate it.' 

' Very well, Senor,' said I ; ' then I will drink to 
your good health, and to the prosperity of your 
house and family. Speaking of which,' I added, 
after I had drunk, ' shall I not have the pleasure of 
laying my salutations in person at the feet of the 
Seriora, your mother ? ' 

But at these words all the childishness passed out 
of his face, and was succeeded by a look of indescrib- 
able cunning and secrecy. He backed away from 
me at the same time, as though I were an animal 
about to leap or some dangerous fellow with a 
weapon, and when he had got near the door, 
glowered at me sullenly with contracted pupils. 
' No,' he said at last, and the next moment was 
gone noiselessly out of the room ; and I heard his 
footing die away downstairs as light as rainfall, and 
silence closed over the house. 

After I had supped I drew up the table nearer to 
the bed and began to prepare for rest; but in the 
new position of the light, I was struck by a picture 
on the wall. It represented a woman, still young. 
To judge by her costume and the mellow unity 
which reigned over the canvas, she had long been 

269 



OLALLA 

dead ; to judge by the vivacity of the attitude, the 
eyes and the features, I might have been beholding 
in a mirror the image of life. Her figure was very 
slim and strong, and of a just proportion ; red tresses 
lay like a crown over her brow ; her eyes, of a very 
golden brown, held mine with a look ; and her face, 
which was perfectly shaped, was yet marred by a 
cruel, sullen, and sensual expression. Something in 
both face and figure, something exquisitely intangible, 
like the echo of an echo, suggested the features and 
bearing of my guide ; and I stood a while, unplea- 
santly attracted and wondering at the oddity of the 
resemblance. The common, carnal stock of that 
race, which had been originally designed for such 
high dames as the one now looking on me from the 
canvas, had fallen to baser uses, wearing country 
clothes, sitting on the shaft and holding the reins of 
a mule cart, to bring home a lodger. Perhaps an 
actual link subsisted ; perhaps some scruple of the 
delicate flesh that was once clothed upon with the 
satin and brocade of the dead lady, now winced at 
the rude contact of Felipe's frieze. 

The first light of the morning shone full upon the 
portrait, and, as I lay awake, my eyes continued to 
dwell upon it with growing complacency ; its beauty 
crept about my heart insidiously, silencing my 
scruples one after another; and while I knew that 
to love such a woman were to sign and seal one's 
own sentence of degeneration, I still knew that, if 
she were alive, I should love her. Day after day 
the double knowledge of her wickedness and of my 
270 



OLALLA 

weakness grew clearer. She came to be the heroine 
of many day-dreams, in which her eyes led on to, 
and sufficiently rewarded, crimes. She cast a dark 
shadow on my fancy, and when I was out in the 
free air of heaven, taking vigorous exercise and 
healthily renewing the current of my blood, it was 
often a glad thought to me that my enchantress 
was safe in the grave, her wand of beauty broken, 
her lips closed in silence, her philtre spilt. And yet 
I had a half-lingering terror that she might not be 
dead after all, but re-arisen in the body of some 
descendant. 

Felipe served my meals in my own apartment; 
and his resemblance to the portrait haunted me. 
At times it was not ; at times, upon some change of 
attitude or flash of expression, it would leap out 
upon me like a ghost. It was above all in his ill 
tempers that the likeness triumphed. He certainly 
liked me ; he was proud of my notice, which he 
sought to engage by many simple and childlike 
devices ; he loved to sit close before my fire, talking 
his broken talk or singing his odd, endless, wordless 
songs, and sometimes drawing his hand over my 
clothes with an affectionate manner of caressing that 
never failed to cause in me an embarrassment of 
which I was ashamed. But for all that, he was 
capable of flashes of causeless anger and fits of sturdy 
sullenness. At a word of reproof, I have seen him 
upset the dish of which I was about to eat, and this 
not surreptitiously, but with defiance ; and similarly 
at a hint of inquisition. I was not unnaturally 

271 



OLALLA 

curious, being in a strange place and surrounded by 
strange people ; but at the shadow of a question he 
shrank back, lowering and dangerous. Then it was 
that, for a fraction of a second, this rough lad might 
have been the brother of the lady in the frame. 
But these humours were swift to pass ; and the 
resemblance died along with them. 

In these first days I saw nothing of any one but 
Felipe, unless the portrait is to be counted ; and 
since the lad was plainly of weak mind, and had 
moments of passion, it may be wondered that I bore 
his dangerous neighbourhood with equanimity. As 
a matter of fact it was for some time irksome ; but 
it happened before long that I obtained over him so 
complete a mastery as set my disquietude at rest. . 

It fell in this way. He was by nature slothful, 
and much of a vagabond, and yet he kept by the 
house, and not only waited upon my wants, but 
laboured every day in the garden or small farm to 
the south of the residencia. Here he would be 
joined by the peasant whom I had seen on the night 
of my arrival, and who dwelt at the far end of the 
enclosure, about half a mile away, in a rude out- 
house ; but it was plain to me that, of these two, it 
was Felipe who did most ; and though 1 would 
sometimes see him throw down his spade and go to 
sleep among the very plants he had been digging, 
his constancy and energy were admirable in them- 
selves, and still more so since I was well assured 
they were foreign to his disposition, and the fruit 
of an ungrateful effort. But while I admired, I 
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wondered what had called forth in a lad so shuttlc- 
witted this enduring sense of duty. How was it 
sustained ? I asked myself, and to what length did 
it prevail over his instincts ? The priest was possibly 
his inspirer ; but the priest came one day to the 
residencia. I saw him both come and go after an 
interval of close upon an hour, from a knoll where I 
was sketching, and all that time Felipe continued to 
labour undisturbed in the garden. 

At last, in a very unworthy spirit, I determined 
to debauch the lad from his good resolutions, and, 
waylaying him at the gate, easily persuaded him to 
join me in a ramble. It was a fine day, and the 
woods to which I led him were green and pleasant 
and sweet-smelling, and alive with the hum of 
insects. Here he discovered himself in a fresh char- 
acter, mounting up to heights of gaiety that abashed 
me, and displaying an energy and grace of move- 
ment that delighted the eye. He leaped, he ran 
round me in mere glee ; he would stop, and look and 
listen, and seem to drink in the world like a cordial ; 
and then he would suddenly spring into a tree with 
one bound, and hang and gambol there like one at 
home. Little as he said to me, and that of not 
much import, I have rarely enjoyed more stirring 
company; the sight of his delight was a continual 
feast; the speed and accuracy of his movements 
pleased me to the heart ; and I might have been so 
thoughtlessly unkind as to make a habit of these 
walks, had not chance prepared a very rude con- 
clusion to my pleasure. By some swiftness or 
8— s 273 



OLALLA 

dexterity the lad captured a squirrel in a tree top. 
He was then some way ahead of me, but I saw him 
drop to the ground and crouch there, crying aloud 
for pleasure like a child. The sound stirred my 
sympathies, it was so fresh and innocent ; but as I 
bettered my pace to draw near, the cry of the squirrel 
knocked upon my heart. I have heard and seen 
much of the cruelty of lads, and above all, of 
peasants ; but what I now beheld struck me into a 
passion of anger. I thrust the fellow aside, plucked 
the poor brute out of his hands, and with swift 
mercy killed it. Then I turned upon the torturer, 
spoke to him long out of the heat of my indignation, 
calling him names at which he seemed to wither ; 
and at length, pointing towards the residencia, bade 
him begone and leave me, for I chose to walk with 
men, not with vermin. He fell upon his knees, and, 
the words coming to him with more clearness than 
usual, poured out a stream of the most touching 
supplications, begging me in mercy to forgive him, 
to forget what he had done, to look to the future. 
' Oh, I try so hard,' he said. ' Oh, commandante, bear 
with Felipe this once ; he will never be a brute 
again ! ' Thereupon, much more affected than I 
cared to show, I suffered myself to be persuaded, 
and at last shook hands with him and made it up. 
But the squirrel, by way of penance, I made him 
bury ; speaking of the poor thing's beauty, telling 
him what pains it had suffered, and how base a thing 
was the abuse of strength. ' See, Felipe,' said I, 
' you are strong indeed ; but in my hands you are as 
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helpless as that poor thing of the trees. Give me 
your hand in mine. You cannot remove it. Now 
suppose that I were cruel like you, and took a 
pleasure in pain. I only tighten my hold, and see 
how you suffer. ' He screamed aloud, his face 
stricken ashy and dotted with needle-points of sweat; 
and when I set him free, he fell to the earth and 
nursed his hand and moaned over it like a baby. 
But he took the lesson in good part ; and whether 
from that, or from what I had said to him, or the 
higher notion he now had of my bodily strength, his 
original affection was changed into a dog-like, 
adoring fidelity. 

Meanwhile I gained rapidly in health. The resi- 
dencia stood on the crown of a stony plateau ; on 
every side the mountains hemmed it about; only 
from the roof, where was a bartizan, there might be 
seen, between two peaks, a small segment of plain, 
blue with extreme distance. The air in these 
altitudes moved freely and largely ; great clouds 
congregated there, and were broken up by the wind 
and left in tatters on the hill-tops ; a hoarse and yet 
faint rumbling of torrents rose from all round ; and 
one could there study all the ruder and more ancient 
characters of nature in something of their pristine 
force. I delighted from the first in the vigorous 
scenery and changeful weather ; nor less in the 
antique and dilapidated mansion where I dwelt. This 
was a large oblong, flanked at two opposite corners 
by bastion-like projections, one of which commanded 
the door, while both were loopholed for musketry. 

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The lower story was, besides, naked of windows, so 
that the building, if garrisoned, could not be carried 
without artillery. It enclosed an open court planted 
with pomegranate trees. From this a broad flight 
of marble stairs ascended to an open gallery, running 
all round and resting towards the court on slender 
pillars. Thence, again, several enclosed stairs led to 
the upper stories of the house, which were thus 
broken up into distinct divisions. The windows, 
both within and without, were closely shuttered ; 
some of the stonework in the upper parts had fallen ; 
the roof, in one place, had been wrecked in one of 
the flurries of wind which were common in these 
mountains ; and the whole house, in the strong, 
beating sunlight, and standing out above a grove of 
stunted cork-trees, thickly laden and discoloured 
with dust, looked like the sleeping palace of the 
legend. The court, in particular, seemed the very 
home of slumber. A hoarse cooing of doves haunted 
about the eaves ; the winds were excluded, but when 
they blew outside, the mountain dust fell here as 
thick as rain, and veiled the red bloom of the 
pomegranates ; shuttered windows and the closed 
doors of numerous cellars, and the vacant arches of 
the gallery, enclosed it ; and all day long the sun 
made broken profiles on the four sides, and paraded 
the shadow of the pillars on the gallery floor. At 
the ground level there was, however, a certain pillared 
recess, which bore the marks of human habitation. 
Though it was open in front upon the court, it was 
yet provided with a chimney, where a wood fire 
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OLALLA 

would be always prettily blazing ; and the tile floor 
was littered with the skins of animals. 

It was in this place that I first saw my hostess. 
She had drawn one of the skins forward and sat in 
the sun, leaning against a pillar. It was her dress 
that struck me first of all, for it was rich and brightly 
coloured, and shone out in that dusty courtyard with 
something of the same relief as the flowers of the 
pomegranates. At a second look it was her beauty 
of person that took hold of me. As she sat back — 
watching me, I thought, though with invisible eyes 
— and wearing at the same time an expression of 
almost imbecile good-humour and contentment, she 
showed a perfectness of feature and a quiet nobility 
of attitude that were beyond a statue's. I took off 
my hat to her in passing, and her face puckered with 
suspicion as swiftly and lightly as a pool ruffles in 
the breeze ; but she paid no heed to my courtesy. I 
went forth on my customary walk a trifle daunted, 
her idol-like impassivity haunting me ; and when I 
returned, although she was still in much the same 
posture, I was half surprised to see that she had 
moved as far as the next pillar, following the sun- 
shine. This time, however, she addressed me with 
some trivial salutation, civilly enough conceived, and 
uttered in the same deep-chested, and yet indistinct 
and lisping tones, that had already baffled the utmost 
niceness of my hearing from her son. I answered 
rather at a venture ; for not only did I fail to take 
her meaning with precision, but the sudden disclosure 
of her eyes disturbed me. They were unusually 

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OLALLA 

large, the iris golden like Felipe's, but the pupil at 
that moment so distended that they seemed almost 
black ; and what affected me was not so much their 
size as (what was perhaps its consequence) the 
singular insignificance of their regard. A look more 
blankly stupid I have never met. My eyes dropped 
before it even as I spoke, and I went on my way 
upstairs to my own room, at once baffled and 
embarrassed. Yet when I came there and saw the 
face of the portrait, I was again reminded of the 
miracle of family descent. My hostess was, indeed, 
both older and fuller in person ; her eyes were of a 
different colour ; her face, besides, was not only free 
from the ill-significance that offended and attracted 
me in the painting ; it was devoid of either good or 
bad— a moral blank expressing literally naught. And 
yet there was a likeness, not so much speaking as 
immanent, not so much in any particular feature as 
upon the whole. It should seem, I thought, as if 
when the master set his signature to that grave 
canvas, he had not only caught the image of one 
smiling and false-eyed woman, but stamped the 
essential quality of a race. 

From that day forth, whether I came or went, I 
was sure to find the Seiiora seated in the sun against 
a pillar, or stretched on a rug before the fire ; only 
at times she would shift her station to the top round 
of the stone staircase, where she lay with the same 
nonchalance right across my path. In all these days, 
I never knew her to display the least spark of energy 
beyond what she expended in brushing and re-brush- 
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OLALLA 

ing her copious copper-coloured hair, or in lisping 
out, in the rich and broken hoarseness of her voice, 
her customary idle salutations to myself. These, I 
think, were her two chief pleasures, beyond that of 
mere quiescence. She seemed always proud of her 
remarks, as though they had been witticisms : and, 
indeed, though they were empty enough, like the 
conversation of many respectable persons, and turned 
on a very narrow range of subjects, they were never 
meaningless or incoherent ; nay, they had a certain 
beauty of their own, breathing, as they did, of her 
entire contentment. Now she would speak of the 
warmth, in which (like her son) she greatly delighted; 
now of the flowers of the pomegranate trees, and 
now of the white doves and long-winged swallows 
that fanned the air of the court. The birds excited 
her. As they raked the eaves in their swift flight, 
or skimmed sidelong past her with a rush of wind, 
she would sometimes stir, and sit a little up, and 
seem to awaken from her doze of satisfaction. But 
for the rest of her days she lay luxuriously folded on 
herself and sunk in sloth and pleasure. Her in- 
vincible content at first annoyed me, but I came 
gradually to find repose in the spectacle, until at 
last it grew to be my habit to sit down beside her 
four times in the day, both coming and going, and 
to talk with her sleepily, I scarce knew of what. I 
had come to like her dull, almost animal neighbour- 
hood ; her beauty and her stupidity soothed and 
amused me. I began to find a kind of transcenden- 
tal good sense in her remarks, and her unfathomable 

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OLALLA 

good-nature moved me to admiration and envy. 
The liking was returned ; she enjoyed my presence 
half-unconsciously, as a man in deep meditation may 
enjoy the babbling of a brook. I can scarce say she 
brightened when I came, for satisfaction was written 
on her face eternally, as on some foolish statue's ; 
but I was made conscious of her pleasure by some 
more intimate communication than the sight. And 
one day, as I sat within reach of her on the marble 
step, she suddenly shot forth one of her hands and 
patted mine. The thing was done, and she was 
back in her accustomed attitude, before my mind 
had received intelligence of the caress ; and when I 
turned to look her in the face I could perceive no 
answerable sentiment. It was plain she attached no 
moment to the act, and I blamed myself for my own 
more uneasy consciousness. 

The sight and (if I may so call it) the acquaintance 
of the mother confirmed the view I had already taken 
of the son. The family blood had been impoverished, 
perhaps by long inbreeding, which I knew to be a 
common error among the proud and the exclusive. 
No decline, indeed, was to be traced in the body, 
which had been handed down unimpaired in shape- 
liness and strength ; and the faces of to-day were 
struck as sharply from the mint, as the face of two 
centuries ago that smiled upon me from the portrait. 
But the intelligence (that more precious heirloom) 
was degenerate ; the treasure of ancestral memory 
ran low ; and it had required the potent, plebeian 
crossing of a muleteer or mountain contrabandista 
280 



OLALLA 

to raise what approached hebetude in the mother 
into the active oddity of the son. Yet of the two, 
it was the mother I preferred. Of Felipe, vengeful 
and placable, full of starts and shyings, inconstant as 
a hare, I could even conceive as a creature possibly 
noxious. Of the mother I had no thoughts but 
those of kindness. And indeed, as spectators are 
apt ignorantly to take sides, I grew something of a 
partisan in the enmity which I perceived to smoulder 
between them. True, it seemed mostly on the 
mother's part She would sometimes draw in her 
breath as he came near, and the pupils of her vacant 
eyes would contract as if with horror or fear. Her 
emotions, such as they were, were much upon the 
surface and readily shared ; and this latent repulsion 
occupied my mind, and kept me wondering on what 
grounds it rested, and whether the son was certainly 
in fault. 

I had been about ten days in the residencia, when 
there sprang up a high and harsh wind, carrying 
clouds of dust. It came out of malarious lowlands, 
and over several snowy sierras. The nerves of those 
on whom it blew were strung and jangled ; their eyes 
smarted with the dust ; their legs ached under the 
burthen of their body ; and the touch of one hand 
upon another grew to be odious. The wind, besides, 
came down the gullies of the hills and stormed about 
the house with a great, hollow buzzing and whistling 
that was wearisome to the ear and dismally depress- 
ing to the mind. It did not so much blow in gusts 
as with the steady sweep of a waterfall, so that there 

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OLALLA 

was no remission of discomfort while it blew. But 
higher up on the mountain it was probably of a more 
variable strength, with accesses of fury ; for there 
came down at times a far-off wailing, infinitely 
grievous to hear ; and at times, on one of the high 
shelves or terraces, there would start up, and then 
disperse, a tower of dust, like the smoke of an 
explosion. 

I no sooner awoke in bed than I was conscious of 
the nervous tension and depression of the weather, 
and the effect grew stronger as the day proceeded. 
It was in vain that I resisted ; in vain that I set 
forth upon my customary morning's walk ; the irra- 
tional, unchanging fury of the storm had soon beat 
down my strength and wrecked my temper ; and I 
returned to the residencia, glowing with dry heat, 
and foul and gritty with dust. The court had a 
forlorn appearance ; now and then a glimmer of sun 
fled over it ; now and then the wind swooped down 
upon the pomegranates, and scattered the blossoms, 
and set the window shutter clapping on the wall. 
In the recess the Senora was pacing to and fro with 
a flushed countenance and bright eyes ; I thought, 
too, she was speaking to herself, like one in anger. 
But when I addressed her with my customary salu- 
tation, she only replied by a sharp gesture and 
continued her walk. The weather had distempered 
even this impassive creature; and as I went on 
upstairs I was the less ashamed of my own dis- 
composure. 

All day the wind continued ; and I sat in my room 
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OLALLA 

and made a feint of reading, or walked up and down, 
and listened to the riot overhead. Night fell, and I 
had not so much as a candle. I began to long for 
some society, and stole down to the court. It was 
now plunged in the blue of the first darkness ; but 
the recess was redly lighted by the fire. The wood 
had been piled high, and was crowned by a shock of 
flames, which the draught of the chimney brandished 
to and fro. In this strong and shaken brightness the 
Senora continued pacing from wall to wall with dis- 
connected gestures, clasping her hands, stretching 
forth her arms, throwing back her head as in appeal 
to heaven. In these disordered movements the 
beauty and grace of the woman showed more clearly; 
but there was a light in her eye that struck on me 
unpleasantly ; and when I had looked on a while in 
silence, and seemingly unobserved, I turned tail as 
I had come, and groped my way back again to my 
own chamber. 

By the time Felipe brought my supper and lights, 
my nerve was utterly gone ; and, had the lad been 
such as I was used to seeing him, I should have kept 
him (even by force, had that been necessary) to take 
off the edge from my distasteful solitude. But on 
Felipe, also, the wind had exercised its influence. 
He had been feverish all day ; now that the night 
had come he was fallen into a low and tremulous 
humour that reacted on my own. The sight of his 
scared face, his starts and pallors and sudden hearken- 
ings, unstrung me ; and when he dropped and broke 
a dish, I fairly leaped out of my seat. 

283 



OLALLA 

' I think we are all mad to-day/ said I, affecting 
to laugh. 

' It is the black wind,' he replied dolefully. ' You 
feel as if you must do something, and you don't know 
what it is.' 

I noted the aptness of the description ; but, 
indeed, Felipe had sometimes a strange felicity in 
rendering into words the sensations of the body. 
' And your mother, too,' said I ; ' she seems to feel 
this weather much. Do you not fear she may be 
unwell ? ' 

He stared at me a little, and then said, ' No,' 
almost defiantly ; and the next moment, carrying his 
hand to his brow, cried out lamentably on the wind 
and the noise that made his head go round like a 
millwheel. ' Who can be well ? ' he cried ; and, 
indeed, I could only echo his question, for I was 
disturbed enough myself. 

I went to bed early, wearied with day-long rest- 
lessness ; but the poisonous nature of the wind, and 
its ungodly and unintermittent uproar, would not 
suffer me to sleep. I lay there and tossed, my nerves 
and senses on the stretch. At times I would doze, 
dream horribly, and wake again ; and these snatches 
of oblivion confused me as to time. But it must 
have been late on in the night, when I was suddenly 
startled by an outbreak of pitiable and hateful cries. 
I leaped from my bed, supposing I had dreamed ; 
but the cries still continued to fill the house, cries 
of pain, I thought, but certainly of rage also, and so 
savage and discordant that they shocked the heart. 
284 



OLALLA 

It was no illusion ; some living thing, some lunatic 
or some wild animal, was being foully tortured. The 
thought of Felipe and the squirrel flashed into my 
mind, and I ran to the door, but it had been locked 
from the outside ; and I might shake it as I pleased, 
I was a fast prisoner. Still the cries continued. 
Now they would dwindle down into a moaning that 
seemed to be articulate, and at these times I made 
sure they must be human ; and again they would 
break forth and fill the house with ravings worthy 
of hell. I stood at the door and gave ear to them, 
till at last they died away. Long after that, I still 
lingered and still continued to hear them mingle in 
fancy with the storming of the wind ; and when at 
last I crept to my bed, it was with a deadly sickness 
and a blackness of horror on my heart. 

It was little wonder if I slept no more. Why had 
I been locked in ? What had passed ? Who was 
the author of these indescribable and shocking cries ? 
A human being ? It was inconceivable. A beast ? 
The cries were scarce quite bestial ; and what animal, 
short of a lion or a tiger, could thus shake the solid 
walls of the residencia ? And while I was thus 
turning over the elements of the mystery, it came 
into my mind that I had not yet set eyes upon the 
daughter of the house. What was more probable 
than that the daughter of the Senora, and the sister 
of Felipe, should be herself insane ? Or, what more 
likely than that these ignorant and half-witted people 
should seek to manage an afflicted kinswoman by 
violence ? Here was a solution ; and yet when I 

285 



OLALLA 

called to mind the cries (which I never did without 
a shuddering chill) it seemed altogether insufficient : 
not even cruelty could wring such cries from mad- 
ness. But of one thing I was sure : I could not live 
in a house where such a thing was half conceivable, 
and not probe the matter home and, if necessary, 
interfere. 

The next day came, the wind had blown itself out, 
and there was nothing to remind me of the business 
of the night. Felipe came to my bedside with 
obvious cheerfulness ; as I passed through the court 
the Seiiora was sunning herself with her accustomed 
immobility ; and when I issued from the gateway 
I found the whole face of nature austerely smiling, 
the heavens of a cold blue, and sown with great 
cloud islands, and the mountain-sides mapped forth 
into provinces of light and shadow. A short walk 
restored me to myself, and renewed within me the 
resolve to plumb this mystery ; and when, from the 
vantage of my knoll, I had seen Felipe pass forth to 
his labours in the garden, I returned at once to the 
residencia to put my design in practice. The Seiiora 
appeared plunged in slumber ; I stood a while and 
marked her, but she did not stir ; even if my design 
were indiscreet, I had little to fear from such a 
guardian ; and turning away, I mounted to the 
gallery and began my exploration of the house. 

All morning I went from one door to another, 

and entered spacious and faded chambers, some 

rudely shuttered, some receiving their full charge of 

daylight, all empty and unhomely. It was a rich 

286 



OLALLA 

house, on which Time had breathed his tarnish and 
dust had scattered disillusion. The spider swung 
there ; the bloated tarantula scampered on the 
cornices ; ants had their crowded highways on the 
floor of halls of audience ; the big and foul fly, that 
lives on carrion and is often the messenger of death, 
had set up his nest in the rotten woodwork, and 
buzzed heavily about the rooms. Here and there a 
stool or two, a couch, a bed, or a great carved chair 
remained behind, like islets on the bare floors, to 
testify of man's bygone habitation ; and everywhere 
the walls were set with the portraits of the dead. 
I could judge, by these decaying effigies, in the house 
of what a great and what a handsome race I was 
then wandering. Many of the men wore orders on 
their breasts and had the port of noble offices ; the 
women were all richly attired ; the canvases, most of 
them, by famous hands. But it was not so much 
these evidences of greatness that took hold upon my 
mind, even contrasted, as they were, with the present 
depopulation and decay of that great house. It was 
rather the parable of family life that I read in this 
succession of fair faces and shapely bodies. Never 
before had I so realised the miracle of the continued 
race, the creation and re-creation, the weaving and 
changing and handing down of fleshly elements. 
That a child should be born of its mother, that it 
should grow and clothe itself (we know not how) 
with humanity, and put on inherited looks, and turn 
its head with the manner of one ascendant, and offer 
its hand with the gesture of another, are wonders 

287 



OLALLA 

dulled for us by repetition. But in the singular 
unity of look, in the common features and common 
bearing, of all these painted generations on the walls 
of the residencia, the miracle started out and looked 
me in the face. And an ancient mirror falling 
opportunely in my way, I stood and read my own 
features a long while, tracing out on either hand 
the filaments of descent and the bonds that knit me 
with my family. 

At last, in the course of these investigations, I 
opened the door of a chamber that bore the marks 
of habitation. It was of large proportions and faced 
to the north, where the mountains were most wildly 
figured. The embers of a fire smouldered and 
smoked upon the hearth, to which a chair had been 
drawn close. And yet the aspect of the chamber 
was ascetic to the degree of sternness : the chair was 
uncushioned ; the floor and walls were naked ; and 
beyond the books which lay here and there in some 
confusion, there was no instrument of either work or 
pleasure. The sight of books in the house of such 
a family exceedingly amazed me ; and I began with a 
great hurry, and in momentary fear of interruption, 
to go from one to another and hastily inspect their 
character. They were of all sorts, devotional, his- 
torical, and scientific, but mostly of a great age and 
in the Latin tongue. Some I could see to bear the 
marks of constant study ; others had been torn across 
and tossed aside as if in petulance or disapproval. 
Lastly, as I cruised about that empty chamber, I 
espied some papers written upon with pencil on a 
288 



OLALLA 

table near the window. An unthinking curiosity led 
me to take one up. It bore a copy of verses, very 
roughly metred in the original Spanish, and which I 
may render somewhat thus — 

' Pleasure approached with pain and shame, 
Grief with a wreath of lilies came. 
Pleasure showed the lovely sun ; 
Jesu dear, how sweet it shone ! 
Grief with her worn hand pointed on, 
Jesu dear, to thee !' 

Shame and confusion at once fell on me ; and, 
laying down the paper, I beat an immediate retreat 
from the apartment. Neither Felipe nor his mother 
could have read the books nor written these rough 
but feeling verses. It was plain I had stumbled 
with sacrilegious feet into the room of the daughter 
of the house. God knows, my own heart most 
sharply punished me for my indiscretion. The 
thought that I had thus secretly pushed my way 
into the confidence of a girl so strangely situated, 
and the fear that she might somehow come to hear 
of it, oppressed me like guilt. I blamed myself 
besides for my suspicions of the night before ; won- 
dered that I should ever have attributed those 
shocking cries to one of whom I now conceived as of 
a saint, spectral of mien, wasted with maceration, 
bound up in the practices of a mechanical devotion, 
and dwelling in a great isolation of soul with her 
incongruous relatives ; and as I leaned on the balus- 
trade of the gallery and looked down into the bright 
8— t 289 



OLALLA 

close of pomegranates and at the gaily dressed and 
somnolent woman, who just then stretched herself 
and delicately licked her lips as in the very sensuality 
of sloth, my mind swiftly compared the scene with 
the cold chamber looking northward on the moun- 
tains, where the daughter dwelt. 

That same afternoon, as I sat upon my knoll, I 
saw the Padre enter the gates of the residencia. The 
revelation of the daughter's character had struck 
home to my fancy, and almost blotted out the 
horrors of the night before ; but at sight of this 
worthy man the memory revived. I descended, 
then, from the knoll, and making a circuit among 
the woods, posted myself by the wayside to await 
his passage. As soon as he appeared I stepped 
forth and introduced myself as the lodger of the 
residencia. He had a very strong, honest counten- 
ance, on which it was easy to read the mingled 
emotions with which he regarded me, as a foreigner, 
a heretic, and yet one who had been wounded for 
the good cause. Of the family at the residencia he 
spoke with reserve, and yet with respect. I men- 
tioned that I had not yet seen the daughter, where- 
upon he remarked that that was as it should be, and 
looked at me a little askance. Lastly, I plucked up 
courage to refer to the cries that had disturbed me in 
the night. He heard me out in silence, and then 
stopped and partly turned about, as though to mark 
beyond doubt that he was dismissing me. 

' Do you take tobacco-powder ? ' said he, offering 
his snuff-box ; and then, when I had refused, ' I am 
290 



OLALLA 

an old man,' he added, ' and I may be allowed to 
remind you that you are a guest' 

' I have, then, your authority,' I returned, firmly 
enough, although I flushed at the implied reproof, ' to 
let things take their course, and not to interfere ? ' 

He said ' Yes,' and with a somewhat uneasy salute 
turned and left me where I was. But he had done 
two things : he had set my conscience at rest, and 
he had awakened my delicacy. I made a great 
effort, once more dismissed the recollections of the 
night, and fell once more to brooding on my saintly 
poetess. At the same time, I could not quite 
forget that I had been locked in, and that night 
when Felipe brought me my supper I attacked him 
warily on both points of interest. 

' I never see your sister,' said I casually. 

' Oh no,' said he ; ' she is a good, good girl,' and 
his mind instantly veered to something else. 

* Your sister is pious, I suppose ? ' I asked in the 
next pause. 

' Oh ! ' he cried, joining his hands with extreme 
fervour, 'a saint; it is she that keeps me up.' 

' You are very fortunate,' said I, ' for the most of 
us, I am afraid, and myself among the number, are 
better at going down.' 

' Senor,' said Felipe earnestly, ' I would not say 
that. You should not tempt your angel. If one 
goes down, where is he to stop ? ' 

' Why, Felipe,' said I, ' I had no guess you were a 
preacher, and I may say a good one ; but I suppose 
that is your sister's doing ? ' 

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OLALLA 

He nodded at me with round eyes. 

' Well, then,' I continued, ' she has doubtless 
reproved you for your sin of cruelty ? ' 

' Twelve times ! ' he cried ; for this was the phrase 
by which the odd creature expressed the sense of 
frequency. 'And I told her you had done so — I 
remembered that,' he added proudly — ' and she was 
pleased.' 

'Then, Felipe,' said I, 'what were those cries that 
I heard last night ? for surely they were cries of some 
creature in suffering.' 

' The wind,' returned Felipe, looking in the fire. 

I took his hand in mine, at which, thinking it to 
be a caress, he smiled with a brightness of pleasure 
that came near disarming my resolve. But I trod 
the weakness down. ' The wind,' I repeated ; ' and 
yet I think it was this hand,' holding it up, 'that 
had first locked me in.' The lad shook visibly, but 
answered never a word. ' Well,' said I, ' I am a 
stranger and a guest. It is not my part either to 
meddle or to judge in your affairs ; in these you shall 
take your sister's counsel, which I cannot doubt to 
be excellent. But in so far as concerns my own I 
will be no man's prisoner, and I demand that key.' 
Half an hour later my door was suddenly thrown 
open, and the key tossed ringing on the floor. 

A day or two after I came in from a walk a little 
before the point of noon. The Senora was lying 
lapped in slumber on the threshold of the recess ; the 
pigeons dozed below the eaves like snowdrifts ; the 
house was under a deep spell of noontide quiet ; and 
292 



OLALLA 

only a wandering and gentle wind from the moun- 
tain stole round the galleries, rustled among the 
pomegranates, and pleasantly stirred the shadows. 
Something in the stillness moved me to imitation, 
and I went very lightly across the court and up the 
marble staircase. My foot was on the topmost 
round, when a door opened, and I found myself face 
to face with Olalla. Surprise transfixed me ; her 
loveliness struck to my heart ; she glowed in the 
deep shadow of the gallery, a gem of colour; her 
eyes took hold upon mine and clung there, and 
bound us together like the joining of hands ; and the 
moments we thus stood face to face, drinking each 
other in, were sacramental and the wedding of souls. 
I know not how long it was before I awoke out of a 
deep trance, and, hastily bowing, passed on into the 
upper stair. She did not move, but followed me 
with her great, thirsting eyes ; and as I passed out 
of sight it seemed to me as if she paled and faded. 

In my own room, I opened the window and looked 
out, and could not think what change had come 
upon that austere field of mountains that it should 
thus sing and shine under the lofty heaven. I had 
seen her — Olalla ! And the stone crags answered, 
Olalla ! and the dumb, unfathomable azure answered, 
Olalla ! The pale saint of my dreams had vanished 
for ever ; and in her place I beheld this maiden on 
whom God had lavished the richest colours and the 
most exuberant energies of life, whom he had made 
active as a deer, slender as a reed, and in whose 
great eyes he had lighted the torches of the soul. 

293 



OLALLA 

The thrill of her young life, strung like a wild 
animal's, had entered into me ; the force of soul that 
had looked out from her eyes and conquered mine, 
mantled about my heart and sprang to my lips in 
singing. She passed through my veins : she was 
one with me. 

I will not say that this enthusiasm declined ; 
rather my soul held out in its ecstasy as in a strong 
castle, and was there besieged by cold and sorrowful 
considerations. I could not doubt but that I loved 
her at first sight, and already with a quivering ardour 
that was strange to my experience. What then was 
to follow ? She was the child of an afflicted house, 
the Senora's daughter, the sister of Felipe ; she bore 
it even in her beauty. She had the lightness and 
swiftness of the one, swift as an arrow, light as dew ; 
like the other, she shone on the pale background of 
the world with the brilliancy of flowers. I could 
not call by the name of brother that half-witted lad, 
nor by the name of mother that immovable and 
lovely thing of flesh, whose silly eyes and perpetual 
simper now recurred to my mind like something 
hateful. And if I could not marry, what then ? 
She was helplessly unprotected ; her eyes, in that 
single and long glance which had been all our inter- 
course, had confessed a weakness equal to my own ; 
but in my heart I knew her for the student of the 
cold northern chamber, and the writer of the sorrowful 
lines ; and this was a knowledge to disarm a brute. 
To flee was more than I could find courage for ; but 
I registered a vow of unsleeping circumspection. 
294 



OLALLA 

As I turned from the window, my eyes alighted 
on the portrait. It had fallen dead, like a candle 
after sunrise ; it followed me with eyes of paint. I 
knew it to be like, and marvelled at the tenacity of 
type in that declining race ; but the likeness was 
swallowed up in difference. I remembered how it 
had seemed to me a thing unapproachable in the life, 
a creature rather of the painter's craft than of the 
modesty of nature, and I marvelled at the thought, 
and exulted in the image of Olalla. Beauty I had 
seen before, and not been charmed, and I had been 
often drawn to women, who were not beautiful 
except to me ; but in Olalla all that I desired and 
had not dared to imagine was united. 

I did not see her the next day, and my heart ached 
and my eyes longed for her, as men long for morn- 
ing. But the day after, when I returned, about my 
usual hour, she was once more on the gallery, and 
our looks once more met and embraced. I would 
have spoken, I would have drawn near to her ; but 
strongly as she plucked at my heart, drawing me 
like a magnet, something yet more imperious with- 
held me ; and I could only bow and pass by ; and 
she, leaving my salutation unanswered, only followed 
me with her noble eyes. 

I had now her image by rote, and as I conned the 
traits in memory it seemed as if I read her very 
heart. She was dressed with something of her 
mother's coquetry and love of positive colour. Her 
robe, which I knew she must have made with her 
own hands, clung about her with a cunning grace. 

295 



OLALLA 

After the fashion of that country, besides, her bodice 
stood open in the middle, in a long slit, and here, in 
spite of the poverty of the house, a gold coin, hang- 
ing by a ribbon, lay on her brown bosom. These 
were proofs, had any been needed, of her inborn 
delight in life and her own loveliness. On the other 
hand, in her eyes that hung upon mine, I could read 
depth beyond depth of passion and sadness, lights of 
poetry and hope, blacknesses of despair, and thoughts 
that were above the earth. It was a lovely body, 
but the inmate, the soul, was more than worthy of 
that lodging. Should I leave this incomparable 
flower to wither unseen on these rough mountains ? 
Should I despise the great gift offered me in the 
eloquent silence of her eyes ? Here was a soul 
immured ; should I not burst its prison ? All side 
considerations fell off from me ; were she the child 
of Herod I swore I should make her mine ; and that 
very evening I set myself, with a mingled sense of 
treachery and disgrace, to captivate the brother. 
Perhaps I read him with more favourable eyes, 
perhaps the thought of his sister always summoned 
up the better qualities of that imperfect soul ; but 
he had never seemed to me so amiable, and his very 
likeness to Olalla, while it annoyed, yet softened 
me. 

A third day passed in vain — an empty desert of 
hours. I would not lose a chance, and loitered all 
afternoon in the court where (to give myself a 
countenance) I spoke more than usual with the 
Senora. God knows it was with a most tender and 
296 



OLALLA 

sincere interest that I now studied her ; and even 
as for Felipe, so now for the mother, I was conscious 
of a growing warmth of toleration. And yet I 
wondered. Even while I spoke with her, she would 
doze off into a little sleep, and presently awake 
again without embarrassment ; and this composure 
staggered me. And again, as I marked her make 
infinitesimal changes in her posture, savouring and 
lingering on the bodily pleasure of the movement, 
I was driven to wonder at this depth of passive 
sensuality. She lived in her body ; and her con- 
sciousness was all sunk into and disseminated 
through her members, where it luxuriously dwelt. 
Lastly, I could not grow accustomed to her eyes. 
Each time she turned on me these great beautiful 
and meaningless orbs, wide open to the day, but 
closed against human inquiry — each time I had 
occasion to observe the lively changes of her pupils 
which expanded and contracted in a breath — I know 
not what it was came over me, I can find no name 
for the mingled feeling of disappointment, annoy- 
ance, and distaste that jarred along my nerves. I 
tried her on a variety of subjects, equally in vain ; 
and at last led the talk to her daughter. But even 
there she proved indifferent ; said she was pretty, 
which (as with children) was her highest word of 
commendation, but was plainly incapable of any 
higher thought ; and, when I remarked that Olalla 
seemed silent, merely yawned in my face and replied 
that speech was of no great use when you had 
nothing to say. ' People speak much, very much,' 

297 



OLALLA 

she added, looking at me with expanded pupils ; and 
then again yawned, and again showed me a mouth 
that was as dainty as a toy. This time I took the 
hint, and, leaving her to her repose, went up into 
my own chamber to sit by the open window, looking 
on the hills and not beholding them, sunk in lustrous 
and deep dreams, and hearkening in fancy to the 
note of a voice that I had never heard. 

I awoke on the fifth morning with a brightness of 
anticipation that seemed to challenge fate. I was 
sure of myself, light of heart and foot, and resolved 
to put my love incontinently to the touch of know- 
ledge. It should lie no longer under the bonds of 
silence, a dumb thing, living by the eye only, like 
the love of beasts ; but should now put on the spirit, 
and enter upon the joys of the complete human 
intimacy. I thought of it with wild hopes, like a 
voyager to El Dorado ; into that unknown and 
lovely country of her soul, I no longer trembled to 
adventure. Yet when I did indeed encounter her, 
the same force of passion descended on me and at 
once submerged my mind ; speech seemed to drop 
away from me like a childish habit ; and I but drew 
near to her as the giddy man draws near to the 
margin of a gulf. She drew back from me a little 
as I came ; but her eyes did not waver from mine, 
and these lured me forward. At last, when I was 
already within reach of her, I stopped. Words were 
denied me ; if I advanced I could but clasp her to 
my heart in silence ; and all that was sane in me, 
all that was still unconquered, revolted against the 
298 



OLALLA 

thought of such an accost. So we stood for a second, 
all our life in our eyes, exchanging salvos of attrac- 
tion and yet each resisting ; and then, with a great 
effort of the will, and conscious at the same time of 
a sudden bitterness of disappointment, I turned and 
went away in the same silence. 

What power lay upon me that I could not speak ? 
And she, why was she also silent ? Why did she 
draw away before me dumbly, with fascinated eyes ? 
Was this love? or was it a mere brute attraction, 
mindless and inevitable, like that of the magnet for 
the steel ? We had never spoken, we were wholly 
strangers ; and yet an influence, strong as the grasp 
of a giant, swept us silently together. On my side, 
it filled me with impatience ; and yet I was sure that 
she was worthy ; I had seen her books, read her 
verses, and thus, in a sense, divined the soul of my 
mistress. But on her side, it struck me almost cold. 
Of me, she knew nothing but my bodily favour ; she 
was drawn to me as stones fall to the earth ; the 
laws that rule the earth conducted her, unconsenting, 
to my arms; and I drew back at the thought of 
such a bridal, and began to be jealous for myself. 
It was not thus that I desired to be loved. And 
then I began to fall into a great pity for the girl 
herself. I thought how sharp must be her mortifi- 
cation, that she, the student, the recluse, Felipe's 
saintly monitress, should have thus confessed an 
overweening weakness for a man with whom she had 
never exchanged a word. And at the coming of 
pity, all other thoughts were swallowed up ; and I 

299 



OLALLA 

longed only to find and console and reassure her ; to 
tell her how wholly her love was returned on my 
side, and how her choice, even if blindly made, was 
not unworthy. 

The next day it was glorious weather ; depth upon 
depth of blue over-canopied the mountains ; the sun 
shone wide ; and the wind in the trees and the many 
falling torrents in the mountains rilled the air with 
delicate and haunting music. Yet I was prostrated 
with sadness. My heart wept for the sight of Olalla, 
as a child weeps for its mother. I sat down on a 
boulder on the verge of the low cliffs that bound the 
plateau to the north. Thence I looked down into 
the wooded valley of a stream, where no foot came. 
In the mood I was in, it was even touching to 
behold the place untenanted ; it lacked Olalla ; and 
I thought of the delight and glory of a life passed 
wholly with her in that strong air, and among these 
rugged and lovely surroundings, at first with a 
whimpering sentiment, and then again with such a 
fiery joy that I seemed to grow in strength and 
stature, like a Samson. 

And then suddenly I was aware of Olalla drawing 
near. She appeared out of a grove of cork-trees, 
and came straight towards me ; and I stood up and 
waited. She seemed in her walking a creature of 
such life and fire and lightness as amazed me ; yet 
she came quietly and slowly. Her energy was in 
the slowness ; but for inimitable strength, I felt she 
would have run, she would have flown to me. Still, 
as she approached, she kept her eyes lowered to the 
300 



OLALLA 

ground ; and when she had drawn quite near, it was 
without one glance that she addressed me. At the 
first note of her voice I started. It was for this I 
had been waiting ; this was the last test of my love. 
And lo, her enunciation was precise and clear, not 
lisping and incomplete like that of her family ; and 
the voice, though deeper than usual with women, 
was still both youthful and womanly. She spoke in 
a rich chord ; golden contralto strains mingled with 
hoarseness, as the red threads were mingled with 
the brown among her tresses. It was not only a 
voice that spoke to my heart directly ; but it spoke 
to me of her. And yet her words immediately 
plunged me back upon despair. 

'You will go away,' she said, 'to-day.' 
Her example broke the bonds of my speech ; I 
felt as lightened of a weight, or as if a spell had been 
dissolved. I know not in what words I answered ; 
but, standing before her on the cliffs, I poured out 
the whole ardour of my love, telling her that I lived 
upon the thought of her, slept only to dream of her 
loveliness, and would gladly forswear my country, 
my language, and my friends, to live for ever by her 
side. And then, strongly commanding myself, I 
changed the note ; I reassured, I comforted her ; 
I told her I had divined in her a pious and heroic 
spirit, with which I was worthy to sympathise, and 
which I longed to share and lighten. ' Nature,' I 
told her, ' was the voice of God, which men disobey 
at peril ; and if we were thus dumbly drawn to- 
gether, ay, even as by a miracle of love, it must 

301 



OLALLA 

imply a divine fitness in our souls ; we must be 
made,' I said — ' made for one another. We should 
be mad rebels,' I cried out — 'mad rebels against 
God, not to obey this instinct.' 

She shook her head. ' You will go to-day,' she 
repeated, and then with a gesture, and in a sudden, 
sharp note — ' no, not to-day,' she cried, ' to-morrow ! ' 

But at this sign of relenting, power came in upon 
me in a tide. I stretched out my arms and called 
upon her name ; and she leaped to me and clung to 
me. The hills rocked about us, the earth quailed ; 
a shock as of a blow went through me and left me 
blind and dizzy. And the next moment she had 
thrust me back, broken rudely from my arms, and 
fled with the speed of a deer among the cork-trees. 

I stood and shouted to the mountains ; I turned 
and went back towards the residencia, walking upon 
air. She sent me away, and yet I had but to call 
upon her name and she came to me. These were 
but the weaknesses of girls, from which even she, 
the strangest of her sex, was not exempted. Go? 
Not I, Olalla — oh, not I, Olalla, my Olalla ! a bird 
sang near by ; and in that season birds were rare. 
It bade me be of good cheer. And once more the 
whole countenance of nature, from the ponderous 
and stable mountains down to the lightest leaf and 
the smallest darting fly in the shadow of the groves, 
began to stir before me and to put on the lineaments 
of life and wear a face of awful joy. The sunshine 
struck upon the hills, strong as a hammer on the 
anvil, and the hills shook ; the earth, under that 
302 



OLALLA 

vigorous insolation, yielded up heady scents ; the 
woods smouldered in the blaze. I felt the thrill of 
travail and delight run through the earth. Some- 
thing elemental, something rude, violent, and savage, 
in the love that sang in my heart, was like a key to 
nature's secrets ; and the very stones that rattled 
under my feet appeared alive and friendly. Olalla ! 
Her touch had quickened, and renewed, and strung 
me up to the old pitch of concert with the rugged 
earth, to a swelling of the soul that men learn to 
forget in their polite assemblies. Love burned in 
me like rage ; tenderness waxed fierce ; I hated, I 
adored, I pitied, I revered her with ecstasy. She 
seemed the link that bound me in with dead things 
on the one hand, and with our pure and pitying 
God upon the other : a thing brutal and divine, and 
akin at once to the innocence and to the unbridled 
forces of the earth. 

My head thus reeling, I came into the courtyard 
of the residencia, and the sight of the mother struck 
me like a revelation. She sat there, all sloth and 
contentment, blinking under the strong sunshine, 
branded with a passive enjoyment, a creature set 
quite apart, before whom my ardour fell away like 
a thing ashamed. I stopped a moment, and, com- 
manding such shaken tones as I was able, said a 
word or two. She looked at me with her unfathom- 
able kindness; her voice in reply sounded vaguely 
out of the realm of peace in which she slumbered, 
and there fell on my mind, for the first time, a sense 
of respect for one so uniformly innocent and happy, 

303 



OLALLA 

and I passed on in a kind of wonder at myself that 
I should be so much disquieted. 

On my table there lay a piece of the same yellow 
paper I had seen in the north room ; it was written 
on with pencil in the same hand, Olalla's hand, and 
I picked it up with a sudden sinking of alarm, and 
read, ' If you have any kindness for Olalla, if you 
have any chivalry for a creature sorely wrought, go 
from here to-day ; in pity, in honour, for the sake of 
Him who died, I supplicate that you shall go.' I 
looked at this a while in mere stupidity, then I began 
to awaken to a weariness and horror of life ; the 
sunshine darkened outside on the bare hills, and I 
began to shake like a man in terror. The vacancy 
thus suddenly opened in my life unmanned me like 
a physical void. It was not my heart, it was not 
my happiness, it was life itself that was involved. 
I could not lose her. I said so, and stood repeating 
it. And then, like one in a dream, I moved to the 
window, put forth my hand to open the casement, 
and thrust it through the pane. The blood spurted 
from my wrist ; and with an instantaneous quietude 
and command of myself, I pressed my thumb on the 
little leaping fountain, and reflected what to do. 
In that empty room there was nothing to my pur- 
pose ; I felt, besides, that I required assistance. 
There shot into my mind a hope that Olalla herself 
might be my helper, and I turned and went down- 
stairs, still keeping my thumb upon the wound. 

There was no sign of either Olalla or Felipe, and 
I addressed myself to the recess, whither the Senora 
304 



OLALLA 

had now drawn quite back and sat dozing close 
before the fire, for no degree of heat appeared too 
much for her. 

1 Pardon me,' said I, ' if 1 disturb you, but I must 
apply to you for help.' 

She looked up sleepily and asked me what it was, 
and with the very words I thought she drew in her 
breath with a widening of the nostrils and seemed to 
come suddenly and fully alive. 

' I have cut myself,' I said, ' and rather badly. 
See ! ' And I held out my two hands, from which 
the blood was oozing and dripping. 

Her great eyes opened wide, the pupils shrank into 
points ; a veil seemed to fall from her face, and leave 
it sharply expressive and yet inscrutable. And as I 
still stood, marvelling a little at her disturbance, she 
came swiftly up to me, and stooped and caught me 
by the hand ; and the next moment my hand was 
at her mouth, and she had bitten me to the bone. 
The pang of the bite, the sudden spurting of blood, 
and the monstrous horror of the act, flashed through 
me all in one, and I beat her back ; and she sprang 
at me again and again, with bestial cries, cries that 
I recognised, such cries as had awakened me on the 
night of the high wind. Her strength was like that 
of madness ; mine was rapidly ebbing with the loss 
of blood ; my mind besides was whirling with the 
abhorrent strangeness of the onslaught, and I was 
already forced against the wall, when Olalla ran be- 
twixt us, and Felipe, following at a bound, pinned 
down his mother on the floor. 

8— u 305 



OLALLA 

A trance-like weakness fell upon me ; 1 saw, heard, 
and felt, but I was incapable of movement. I heard 
the struggle roll to and fro upon the floor, the yells 
of that catamount ringing up to Heaven as she 
strove to reach me. I felt Olalla clasp me in her 
arms, her hair falling on my face, and, with the 
strength of a man, raise and half drag, half carry 
me upstairs into my own room, where she cast me 
down upon the bed. Then I saw her hasten to the 
door and lock it, and stand an instant listening to 
the savage cries that shook the residencia. And, 
then, swift and light as a thought, she was again 
beside me, binding up my hand, laying it in her 
bosom, moaning and mourning over it, with dove- 
like sounds. They were not words that came to her, 
they were sounds more beautiful than speech, in- 
finitely touching, infinitely tender ; and yet as I 
lay there, a thought stung to my heart, a thought 
wounded me like a sword, a thought, like a worm in 
a flower, profaned the holiness of my love. Yes, 
they were beautiful sounds, and they were inspired 
by human tenderness ; but was their beauty human ? 
All day I lay there. For a long time the cries of 
that nameless female thing, as she struggled with her 
half-witted whelp, resounded through the house, and 
pierced me with despairing sorrow and disgust. 
They were the death-cry of my love ; my love was 
murdered ; it was not only dead, but an offence to 
me ; and yet, think as I pleased, feel as I must, it 
still swelled within me like a storm of sweetness, 
and my heart melted at her looks and touch. This 
306 



OLALLA 

horror that had sprung out, this doubt upon Olalla, 
this savage and bestial strain that ran not only 
through the whole behaviour of her family, but found 
a place in the very foundations and story of our 
love — though it appalled, though it shocked and 
sickened me, was yet not of power to break the knot 
of my infatuation. 

When the cries had ceased, there came a scraping 
at the door, by which I knew Felipe was without ; 
and Olalla went and spoke to him — I know not 
what. With that exception, she stayed close beside 
me, now kneeling by my bed and fervently praying, 
now sitting with her eyes upon mine. So then, for 
these six hours I drank in her beauty, and silently 
perused the story in her face. I saw the golden coin 
hover on her breaths ; I saw her eyes darken and 
brighten, and still speak no language but that of an 
unfathomable kindness ; I saw the faultless face, and, 
through the robe, the lines of the faultless body. 
Night came at last, and in the growing darkness of 
the chamber, the sight of her slowly melted ; but 
even then the touch of her smooth hand lingered in 
mine and talked with me. To lie thus in deadly 
weakness and drink in the traits of the beloved, i. 
to re-awake to love from whatever shock of dis 
illusion. I reasoned with myself; and I shut my 
eyes on horrors, and again I was very bold to accept 
the worst. What mattered it, if that imperious 
sentiment survived ; if her eyes still beckoned and 
attached me ; if now, even as before, every fibre of 
my dull body yearned and turned to her ? Late 

307 



OLALLA 

on in the night some strength revived in me, and I 
spoke : — 

' Olalla,' I said, ' nothing matters ; I ask nothing ; 
I am content : I love you.' 

She knelt down a while and prayed, and I devoutly 
respected her devotions. The moon had begun to 
shine in upon one side of each of the three windows, 
and make a misty clearness in the room, by which I 
saw her indistinctly. When she re-arose she made 
the sign of the cross. 

' It is for me to speak,' she said, ' and for you to 
listen. I know ; you can but guess. I prayed, how 
I prayed for you to leave this place. I begged it of 
you, and I know you would have granted me even 
this ; or if not, oh let me think so ! ' 

1 1 love you,' I said. 

'And yet you have lived in the world,' she said ; 
after a pause, ' you are a man, and wise ; and I am 
but a child. Forgive me, if I seem to teach, who 
am as ignorant as the trees of the mountain ; but 
those who learn much do but skim the face of know- 
ledge ; they seize the laws, they conceive the dignity 
of the design — the horror of the living fact fades 
from their memory. It is we who sit at home with 
evil who remember, I think, and are warned and 
pity. Go rather, go now, and keep me in mind. So 
I shall have a life in the cherished places of your 
memory ; a life as much my own as that which I 
lead in this body.' 

' I love you,' I said once more ; and reaching out 
my weak hand, took hers, and carried it to my lips, 
308 



OLALLA 

and kissed it. Nor did she resist, but winced a little ; 
and I could see her look upon me with a frown that 
was not unkindly, only sad and baffled. And then 
it seemed she made a call upon her resolution ; 
plucked my hand towards her, herself at the same 
time leaning somewhat forward, and laid it on the 
beating of her heart. ' There,' she cried, ' you feel 
the very footfall of my life. It only moves for you ; 
it is yours. But is it even mine ? It is mine in- 
deed to offer you, as I might take the coin from my 
neck, as I might break a live branch from a tree, 
and give it you. And yet not mine ! I dwell, or I 
think I dwell (if I exist at all), somewhere apart, an 
impotent prisoner, and carried about and deafened 
by a mob that I disown. This capsule, such as 
throbs against the sides of animals, knows you at a 
touch for its master ; ay, it loves you ! But my 
soul, does my soul ? I think not ; I know not, 
fearing to ask. Yet when you spoke to me, your 
words were of the soul ; it is of the soul that you 
ask — it is only from the soul that you would take 
me.' 

' Olalla,' I said, ' the soul and the body are one, 
and mostly so in love. What the body chooses, the 
soul loves ; where the body clings, the soul cleaves ; 
body for body, soul to soul, they come together at 
God's signal ; and the lower part (if we can call 
aught low) is only the footstool and foundation of 
the highest.' 

' Have you,' she said, ' seen the portraits in the 
house of my fathers ? Have you looked at my 

309 



OLALLA 

mother or at Felipe ? Have your eyes never rested 
on that picture that hangs by your bed ? She who 
sat for it died ages ago ; and she did evil in her 
life. But, look again : there is my hand to the least 
line, there are my eyes and my hair. What is mine, 
then, and what am I ? If not a curve in this poor 
body of mine (which you love, and for the sake of 
which you dotingly dream that you love me), not a 
gesture that I can frame, not a tone of my voice, 
not any look from my eyes, no, not even now when 
I speak to him I love, but has belonged to others ? 
Others, ages dead, have wooed other men with my 
eyes ; other men have heard the pleading of the 
same voice that now sounds in your ears. The hands 
of the dead are in my bosom ; they move me, they 
pluck me, they guide me ; I am a puppet at their 
command ; and I but re-inform features and attri- 
butes that have long been laid aside from evil in 
the quiet of the grave. Is it me you love, friend ? 
or the race that made me ? The girl who does not 
know and cannot answer for the least portion of 
herself ? or the stream of which she is a transitory 
eddy, the tree of which she is the passing fruit ? 
The race exists ; it is old, it is ever young, it carries 
its eternal destiny in its bosom ; upon it, like waves 
upon the sea, individual succeeds to individual, 
mocked with a semblance of self-control, but they 
are nothing. We speak of the soid, but the soul is 
in the race.' 

' You fret against the common law,' I said. ' You 
rebel against the voice of God, which he has made so 
310 



OLALLA 

winning to convince, so imperious to command. 
Hear it, and how it speaks between us ! Your hand 
clings to mine, your heart leaps at my touch, the 
unknown elements of which we are compounded 
awake and run together at a look ; the clay of the 
earth remembers its independent life and yearns to 
join us ; we are drawn together as the stars are 
turned about in space, or as the tides ebb and flow ; 
by tilings older and greater than we ourselves.' 

' Alas ! ' she said, ' what can I say to you ? My 
fathers, eight hundred years ago, ruled all this pro- 
vince : they were wise, great, cunning, and cruel ; 
they were a picked race of the Spanish ; their flags 
led in war ; the king called them his cousin ; the 
people, when the rope was slung for them or when 
they returned and found their hovels smoking, 
blasphemed their name. Presently a change began. 
Man has risen ; if he has sprung from the brutes, he 
can descend again to the same level. The breath of 
weariness blew on their humanity and the cords re- 
laxed ; they began to go down ; their minds fell on 
sleep, their passions awoke in gusts, heady and sense- 
less like the wind in the gutters of the mountains ; 
beauty was still handed down, but no longer the 
guiding wit nor the human heart ; the seed passed 
on, it was wrapped in flesh, the flesh covered the 
bones, but they were the bones and the flesh of 
brutes, and their mind was as the mind of flies. I 
speak to you as I dare ; but you have seen for your- 
self how the wheel has gone backward with my 
doomed race. I stand, as it were, upon a little rising 

3" 



OLALLA 

ground in this desperate descent, and see botli before 
and behind, both what we have lost and to what 
we are condemned to go farther downward. And 
shall I — I that dwell apart in the house of the dead, 
my body, loathing its ways — shall I repeat the spell? 
Shall I bind another spirit, reluctant as my own, 
into this bewitched and tempest-broken tenement 
that I now suffer in ? Shall I hand down this 
cursed vessel of humanity, charge it with fresh life 
as with fresh poison, and dash it, like a fire, in the 
faces of posterity ? But my vow has been given ; 
the race shall cease from off the earth. At this hour 
my brother is making ready ; his foot will soon be 
on the stair ; and you will go with him and pass out 
of my sight for ever. Think of me sometimes as 
one to whom the lesson of life was very harshly 
told, but who heard it with courage ; as one who 
loved you indeed, but who hated herself so deeply 
that her love was hateful to her ; as one who sent 
you away and yet would have longed to keep you 
for ever : who had no dearer hope than to forget 
you, and no greater fear than to be forgotten.' 

She had drawn towards the door as she spoke, her 
rich voice sounding softer and farther away ; and 
witli the last word she was gone, and I lay alone in 
the moonlit chamber. What I might have done 
had not I lain bound by my extreme weakness, I 
know not ; but as it was, there fell upon me a great 
and blank despair. It was, not long before there 
shone in at the door the ruddy glimmer of a lantern, 
and Felipe, coming, charged me without a word upon 
312 



OLALLA 

his shoulders, and carried me down to the great gate, 
where the cart was waiting. In the moonlight the 
hills stood out sharply, as if they were of cardboard ; 
on the glimmering surface of the plateau, and from 
among the low trees which swung together and 
sparkled in the wind, the great black cube of the 
residencia stood out bulkily, its mass only broken by 
three dimly lighted windows in the northern front 
above the gate. They were Olalla's windows, and 
as the cart jolted onwards I kept my eyes fixed 
upon them, till, where the road dipped into a valley, 
they were lost to my view for ever. Felipe walked 
in silence beside the shafts, but from time to time 
he would check the mule and seem to look back 
upon me ; and at length drew quite near and laid 
his hand upon my head. There was such kindness 
in the touch, and such a simplicity, as of the brutes, 
that tears broke from me like the bursting of an 
artery. 

' Felipe,' I said, ' take me where they will ask no 
questions.' 

He said never a word, but he turned his mule 
about, end for end, retraced some part of the way 
we had gone, and, striking into another path, led me 
to the mountain village, which was, as we say in 
Scotland, the kirk-town of that thinly peopled district. 
Some broken memories dwell in my mind of the day 
breaking over the plain, of the cart stopping, of arms 
that helped me down, of a bare room into which I 
was carried, and of a swoon that fell upon me like 
sleep. 

3i3 



OLALLA 

The next day and the days following, the old 
priest was often at my side with his snuff-box and 
prayer-book, and after a while, when I began to pick 
up strength, he told me that I was now on a fair 
way to recovery, and must as soon as possible hurry 
my departure ; whereupon, without naming any 
reason, he took snuff and looked at me sideways. 
I did not affect ignorance ; I knew he must have 
seen Olalla. 'Sir,' said I, 'you know that I do not 
ask in wantonness. What of that family ? ' 

He said they were very unfortunate ; that it 
seemed a declining race, and that they Avere very 
poor and had been much neglected. 

' But she has not,' I said. ' Thanks, doubtless, to 
yourself, she is instructed and wise beyond the use 
of women. ' 

' Yes,' he said, ' the Seiiorita is well-informed. 
But the family has been neglected.' 

' The mother ? ' I queried. 

'Yes, the mother too,' said the Padre, taking 
snuff. ' But Felipe is a well-intentioned lad.' 

' The mother is odd ? ' I asked. 

' Very odd,' replied the priest. 

' I think, sir, we beat about the bush,' said I. 
' You must know more of my affairs than you allow. 
You must know my curiosity to be justified on 
many grounds. Will you not be frank with me ? ' 

' My son,' said the old gentleman, ' I will be very 

frank with you on matters within my competence ; 

on those of which I know nothing it does not 

require much discretion to be silent. I will not 

314 



OLALLA 

fence with you, I take your meaning perfectly ; and 
what can I say, but that we are all in God's hands, 
and that His ways are not our ways ? I have even 
advised with my superiors in the Church, but they, 
too, were dumb. It is a great mystery.' 

* Is she mad ? ' I asked. 

' I will answer you according to my belief. She is 
not,' returned the Padre, ' or she was not. When 
she was young — God help me, I fear I neglected 
that wild lamb — she was surely sane ; and yet, 
although it did not run to such heights, the same 
strain was already notable ; it had been so before 
her in her father, ay, and before him, and this 
inclined me, perhaps, to think too lightly of it. But 
these things go on growing, not only in the indi- 
vidual but in the race.' 

'When she was young,' I began, and my voice 
failed me for a moment, and it was only with a great 
effort that I was able to add, ' was she like Olalla ? ' 

' Now God forbid ! ' exclaimed the Padre. ' God 
forbid that any man should think so slightingly of 
my favourite penitent. No, no ; the Senorita (but 
for her beauty, which I wish most honestly she had 
less of) has not a hair's resemblance to what her 
mother was at the same age. I could not bear to 
have you think so ; though, Heaven knows, it were 
perhaps better that you should.' 

At this I raised myself in bed, and opened my 
heart to the old man ; telling him of our love and of 
her decision ; owning my own horrors, my own 
passing fancies, but telling him that these were at 

3i5 



OLALLA 

an end ; and, with something more than a purely 
formal submission, appealing to his judgment. 

He heard me very patiently and without surprise ; 
and when I had done, he sat for some time silent. 
Then he began : ' The Church,' and instantly broke 
off again to apologise. ' I had forgotten, my child, 
that you were not a Christian,' said he. ' And 
indeed, upon a point so highly unusual, even the 
Church can scarce be said to have decided. But 
would you have my opinion ? The Senorita is, in a 
matter of this kind, the best judge ; I would accept 
her judgment.' 

On the back of that he went away, nor was he 
thenceforward so assiduous in his visits ; indeed, 
even when I began to get about again, he plainly 
feared and deprecated my society, not as in distaste, 
but much as a man might be disposed to flee from 
the riddling sphinx. The villagers, too, avoided 
me ; they were unwilling to be my guides upon the 
mountain. I thought they looked at me askance, 
and I made sure that the more superstitious crossed 
themselves on my approach. At first I set this 
down to my heretical opinions ; but it began at 
length to dawn upon me that if I was thus re- 
doubted it was because I had stayed at the 
residencia. All men despise the savage notions of 
such peasantry ; and yet I was conscious of a chill 
shadow that seemed to fall and dwell upon my love. 
It did not conquer, but I may not deny that it 
restrained, my ardour. 

Some miles westward of the village there was a 
316 



OLALLA 

gup in the sierra, from which the eye plunged direct 
upon the residencia ; and thither it became my daily 
habit to repair. A wood crowned the summit; and 
just where the pathway issued from its fringes, it 
was overhung by a considerable shelf of rock, and 
that, in its turn, was surmounted by a crucifix of 
the size of life and more than usually painful in 
design. This was my perch ; thence, day after day, 
I looked down upon the plateau, and the great old 
house, and could see Felipe, no bigger than a fly, 
going to and fro about the garden. Sometimes 
mists would draw across the view, and be broken up 
again by mountain winds ; sometimes the plain 
slumbered below me in unbroken sunshine ; it 
would sometimes be all blotted out by rain. This 
distant post, these interrupted sights of the place 
where my life had been so strangely changed, suited 
the indecision of my humour. I passed whole days 
there, debating with myself the various elements of 
our position ; now leaning to the suggestions of 
love, now giving an ear to prudence, and in the end 
halting irresolute between the two. 

One day, as I was sitting on my rock, there came 
by that way a somewhat gaunt peasant wrapped in 
a mantle. He was a stranger, and plainly did not 
know me even by repute ; for, instead of keeping 
the other side, he drew near and sat down beside me, 
and we had soon fallen in talk. Among other things, 
he told me he had been a muleteer, and in former 
years had much frequented these mountains ; later 
on, he had followed the army with his mules, had 

317 



OLALLA 

realised a competence, and was now living retired 
with his family. 

' Do you know that house ? ' I inquired at last, 
pointing to the residencia, for I readily wearied of 
any talk that kept me from the thought of Olalla. 

He looked at me darkly and crossed himself. 

'Too well,' he said ; ' it was there that one of my 
comrades sold himself to Satan ; the Virgin shield us 
from temptations ! He has paid the price ; he is 
now burning in the reddest place in hell ! ' 

A fear came upon me ; I could answer nothing ; 
and presently the man resumed, as if to himself: 
' Yes,' he said, ' O yes, I know it. I have passed its 
doors. There was snow upon the pass, the wind was 
driving it ; sure enough there was death that night 
upon the mountains, but there was worse beside the 
hearth. I took him by the arm, Senor, and dragged 
him to the gate : I conjured him, by all he loved and 
respected, to go forth with me ; I went on my knees 
before him in the snow ; and I could see he was 
moved by my entreaty. And just then she came 
out on the gallery, and called him by his name ; 
and he turned, and there was she, standing with a 
lamp in her hand and smiling on him to come back. 
I cried out aloud to God, and threw my arms about 
him, but he put me by, and left me alone. He had 
made his choice ; God help us. I would pray for 
him, but to what end ? there are sins that not even 
the Pope can loose.' 

' And your friend,' I asked, ' what became of 
him ? ' 

3iS 



OLALLA 

' Nay, God knows,' said the muleteer. ' If all be 
true that we hear, his end was like his sin, a thing 
to raise the hair.' 

' Do you mean that he was killed ? ' I asked. 

' Sure enough, he was killed,' returned the man. 
' But how ? Ah, how ? But these are things that it 
is sin to speak of.' 

' The people of that house . . .' I began. 

But he interrupted me with a savage outburst. 
* The people ? ' he cried. ' What people ? There 
are neither men nor women in that house of Satan's ! 
What ? have you lived here so long, and never 
heard ? ' And here he put his mouth to my ear and 
whispered, as if even the fowls of the mountain 
might have overheard and been stricken with horror. 

What he told me was not true, nor was it even 
original ; being, indeed, but a new edition, vamped 
up again by village ignorance and superstition, of 
stories nearly as ancient as the race of man. It was 
rather the application that appalled me. In the old 
days, he said, the Church would have burned out 
that nest of basilisks ; but the arm of the Church 
was now shortened ; his friend Miguel had been un- 
punished by the hands of men, and left to the more 
awful judgment of an offended God. This was 
wrong ; but it should be so no more. The Padre 
was sunk in age ; he was even bewitched him- 
self ; but the eyes of his flock were now awake to 
their own danger ; and some day — ay, and before 
long — the smoke of that house should go up to 
heaven. 

319 



OLALLA 

He left me filled with horror and fear. Which 
way to turn I knew not ; whether first to warn the 
Padre, or to carry my ill news direct to the threat- 
ened inhabitants of the residencia. Fate was to 
decide for me ; for, while I was still hesitating, I 
beheld the veiled figure of a woman drawing near 
to me up the pathway. No veil could deceive my 
penetration ; by every line and every movement I 
recognised Olalla ; and keeping hidden behind a 
corner of the rock, I suffered her to gain the summit. 
Then I came forward. She knew me and paused, 
but did not speak ; I, too, remained silent ; and we 
continued for some time to gaze upon each other 
with a passionate sadness. 

' I thought you had gone,' she said at length. ' It 
is all that you can do for me — to go. It is all I ever 
asked of you. And you still stay. But do you 
know, that every day heaps up the peril of death, 
not only on your head, but on ours ? A report has 
gone about the mountain ; it is thought you love 
me, and the people will not suffer it.' 

I saw she was already informed of her danger, and 
I rejoiced at it. ' Olalla,' I said, ' I am ready to go 
this day, this very hour, but not alone.' 

She stepped aside and knelt down before the 
crucifix to pray, and I stood by and looked now at 
her and now at the object of her adoration, now 
at the living figure of the penitent, and now at the 
ghastly, daubed countenance, the painted wounds, 
and the projected ribs of the image. The silence 
was only broken by the wailing of some large birds 
320 



OLALLA 

that circled sidelong, as if in surprise or alarm, about 
the summit of the hills. Presently Olalla rose again, 
turned towards me, raised her veil, and, still leaning 
with one hand on the shaft of the crucifix, looked 
upon me with a pale and sorrowful countenance. 

1 1 have laid my hand upon the cross,' she said. 
* The Padre says you are no Christian ; but look up 
for a moment with my eyes, and behold the face of 
the Man of Sorrows. We are all such as He was — 
the inheritors of sin ; we must all bear and expiate a 
past which was not ours ; there is in all of us — ay, 
even in me — a sparkle of the divine. Like Him, we 
must endure for a little while, until morning returns, 
bringing peace. Suffer me to pass on upon my way 
alone ; it is thus that I shall be least lonely, count- 
ing for my friend Him who is the friend of all the 
distressed ; it is thus that I shall be the most happy, 
having taken my farewell of earthly happiness, and 
willingly accepted sorrow for my portion.' 

I looked at the face of the crucifix, and, though I 
was no friend to images, and despised that imitative 
and grimacing art of which it was a rude example, 
some sense of what the thing implied was carried 
home to my intelligence. The face looked down 
upon me with a painful and deadly contraction ; but 
the rays of a glory encircled it, and reminded me 
that the sacrifice was voluntary. It stood there, 
crowning the rock, as it still stands on so many high- 
way sides, vainly preaching to passers-by, an emblem 
of sad and noble truths ; that pleasure is not an end, 
but an accident ; that pain is the choice of the mag- 
8— x 321 



OLALLA 

nanimous ; that it is best to suffer all things and 
do well. I turned and went down the mountain 
in silence ; and when I looked back for the last time 
before the wood closed about my path, I saw Olalla 
still leaning on the crucifix. 



122 



THE TREASURE OF FRANCHARD 

CHAPTER I 
BY THE DYING MOUNTEBANK 

They had sent for the doctor from Bourron before 
six. About eight some villagers came round for the 
performance, and were told how matters stood. It 
seemed a liberty for a mountebank to fall ill like real 
people, and they made off again in dudgeon. By 
ten Madame Tentaillon was gravely alarmed, and 
had sent down the street for Doctor Desprez. 

The Doctor was at work over his manuscripts in 
one corner of the little dining-room, and his wife 
was asleep over the fire in another, when the mes- 
senger arrived. 

'Sapristi ! ' said the Doctor, ' you should have sent 
for me before. It was a case for hurry.' And he 
followed the messenger as he was, in his slippers and 
skull-cap. 

The inn was not thirty yards away, but the mes- 
senger did not stop there ; he went in at one door 
and out by another into the court, and then led the 
way, by a flight of steps beside the stable, to the loft 

323 



THE TREASURE OF FRANCHARD 

where the mountebank lay sick. If Doctor Desprez 
were to live a thousand years, he would never forget 
his arrival in that room ; for not only was the scene 
picturesque, but the moment made a date in his 
existence. We reckon our lives, I hardly know 
why, from the date of our first sorry appearance in 
society, as if from a first humiliation ; for no actor 
can come upon the stage with a worse grace. Not 
to go further back, which would be judged too 
curious, there are subsequently many moving and 
decisive accidents in the lives of all, which would 
make as logical a period as this of birth. And here, 
for instance, Doctor Desprez, a man past forty, who 
had made what is called a failure in life, and was 
moreover married, found himself at a new point of 
departure when he opened the door of the loft above 
Tentaillon's stable. 

It was a large place, lighted only by a single 
candle set upon the floor. The mountebank lay on 
his back upon a pallet ; a large man with a Quixotic 
nose inflamed with drinking. Madame Tentaillon 
stooped over him, applying a hot water and mustard 
embrocation to his feet ; and on a chair close by sat 
a little fellow of eleven or twelve, with his feet 
dangling. These three were the only occupants ex- 
cept the shadows. But the shadows were a company 
in themselves ; the extent of the room exaggerated 
them to a gigantic size, and from the low position of 
the candle the light struck upwards and produced 
deformed foreshortenings. The mountebank's profile 
was enlarged upon the wall in caricature, and it was 
324 



BY THE DYING MOUNTEBANK 

strange to see his nose shorten and lengthen as the 
flame was blown about by draughts. As for Madame 
Tentaillon, her shadow was no more than a gross 
hump of shoulders, with now and again a hemisphere 
of head. The chair-legs were spindled out as long- 
as stilts, and the boy sat perched atop of them, like 
a cloud, in the corner of the roof. 

It was the boy who took the Doctor's fancy. He 
had a great arched skull, the forehead and the hands 
of a musician, and a pair of haunting eyes. It was 
not merely that these eyes were large, or steady, or 
the softest ruddy brown. There was a look in them, 
besides, which thrilled the Doctor, and made him 
half uneasy. He was sure he had seen such a look 
before, and yet he could not remember how or 
where. It was as if this boy, who was quite a 
stranger to him, had the eyes of an old friend or an 
old enemy. And the boy would give him no peace ; 
he seemed profoundly indifferent to what was going 
on, or rather abstracted from it in a superior con- 
templation, beating gently with his feet against the 
bars of the chair, and holding his hands folded on 
his lap. But, for all that, his eyes kept following 
the Doctor about the room with a thoughtful fixity 
of gaze. Desprez could not tell whether he was 
fascinating the boy, or the boy was fascinating him. 
He busied himself over the sick man, he put ques- 
tions, he fell the pulse, he jested, he grew a little hot 
and swore : and still, whenever he looked round, 
there were the brown eyes waiting for his with the 
same inquiring, melancholy gaze. 



THE TREASURE OF FRANCHARD 

At last the Doctor hit on the solution at a leap. 
He remembered the look now. The little fellow, 
although he was as straight as a dart, had the eyes 
that go usually with a crooked back ; he was not at 
all deformed, and yet a deformed person seemed to 
be looking at you from below his brows. The 
Doctor drew a long breath, he was so much relieved 
to find a theory (for he loved theories) and to explain 
away his interest. 

For all that, he despatched the invalid with 
unusual haste, and, still kneeling with one knee on 
the floor, turned a little round and looked the boy 
over at his leisure. The boy was not in the least 
put out, but looked placidly back at the Doctor. 

' Is this your father ? ' asked Desprez. 

' Oh no,' returned the boy ; ' my master.' 

' Are you fond of him ? ' continued the Doctor. 

' No, sir,' said the boy. 

Madame Tentaillon and Desprez exchanged ex- 
pressive glances. 

'That is bad, my man,' resumed the latter, with a 
shade of sternness. ' Every one should be fond of 
the dying, or conceal their sentiments ; and your 
master here is dying. If I have watched a bird a 
little while stealing my cherries, I have a thought of 
disappointment when he flies away over my garden 
wall, and I see him steer for the forest and vanish. 
How much more a creature such as this, so strong, 
so astute, so richly endowed with faculties ! When 
I think that, in a few hours, the speech will be 
silenced, the breath extinct, and even the shadow 
326 



BY THE DYING MOUNTEBANK 

vanished from the wall, I who never saw him, this 
lady who knew him only as a guest, are touched 
with some affection.' 

The boy was silent for a little, and appeared to be 
reflecting. 

' You did not know him, 1 he replied at last. ' He 
was a bad man.' 

' He is a little pagan,' said the landlady. ' For 
that matter, they are all the same, these mounte- 
banks, tumblers, artists, and what not. They have 
no interior.' 

But the Doctor was still scrutinising the little 
pagan, his eyebrows knotted and uplifted. 

' What is your name ? ' he asked. 

' Jean-Marie,' said the lad. 

Desprez leaped upon him with one of his sudden 
flashes of excitement, and felt his head all over from 
an ethnological point of view. 

' Celtic, Celtic ! ' he said. 

' Celtic ! ' cried Madame Tentaillon, who had per- 
haps confounded the word with hydrocephalous. 
' Poor lad ! is it dangerous ? ' 

' That depends,' returned the Doctor grimly. 
And then once more addressing the boy : ' And 
what do you do for your living, Jean-Marie ? ' he 
inquired. 

' I tumble,' was the answer. 

* So ! Tumble ? ' repeated Desprez. ' Probably 
healthful. I hazard the guess, Madame Tentaillon, 
that tumbling is a healthful way of life. And have 
you never done anything else but tumble ? ' 

327 



THE TREASURE OF FRANCHARD 

■ Before I learned that I used to steal,' answered 
Jean -Marie gravely. 

' Upon my word ! ' cried the Doctor. ' You are a 
nice little man for your age. — Madame, when my 
confrere comes from Bourron, you will communicate 
my unfavourable opinion. I leave the case in his 
hands ; but of course, on any alarming symptom, 
above all if there should be a sign of rally, do not 
hesitate to knock me up. I am a doctor no longer, 
I thank God ; but I have been one. Good-night, 
madame. — Good sleep to you, Jean-Marie.' 



CHAPTER II 
MORNING TALK 

Doctor Desprez always rose early. Before the 
smoke arose, before the first cart rattled over the 
bridge to the day's labour in the fields, he was to be 
found wandering in his garden. Now he would 
pick a bunch of grapes ; now he would eat a big 
pear under the trellis ; now he would draw all sorts 
of fancies on the path with the end of his cane ; now 
he would go down and watch the river running end- 
lessly past the timber landing-place at which he 
moored his boat. There was no time, he used to 
say, for making theories like the early morning. ' I 
rise earlier than any one else in the village,' he once 
boasted. ' It is a fair consequence that I know more 
and wish to do less with my knowledge.' 
328 



MORNING TALK 

The Doctor was a connoisseur of sunrises, and 
loved a good theatrical effect to usher in the day. 
He had a theory of dew, by which he could predict 
the weather. Indeed, most things served him to 
that end : the sound of the bells from all the neigh- 
bouring villages, the smell of the forest, the visits 
and the behaviour of both birds and fishes, the look 
of the plants in his garden, the disposition of cloud, 
the colour of the light, and last, although not least, 
the arsenal of meteorological instruments in a louvre- 
boarded hutch upon the lawn. Ever since he had 
settled at Gretz he had been growing more and more 
into the local meteorologist, the unpaid champion 
of the local climate. He thought at first there was 
no place so healthful in the arrondissement. By the 
end of the second year, he protested there was none 
so wholesome in the whole department. And for 
some time before he met Jean-Marie he had been 
prepared to challenge all France and the better part 
of Europe for a rival to his chosen spot. 

' Doctor,' he would say — ' doctor is a foul word. 
It should not be used to ladies. It implies disease. 
I remark it, as a flaw in our civilisation, that we have 
not the proper horror of disease. Now I, for my 
part, have washed my hands of it ; I have renounced 
my laureation ; I am no doctor ; I am only a wor- 
shipper of the true goddess Hygieia. Ah ! believe 
me, it is she who has the cestus ! And here, in this 
exiguous hamlet, has she placed her shrine : here she 
dwells and lavishes her gifts ; here I walk with her 
in the early morning, and she shows me how strong 

329 



THE TREASURE OF FRANCHARD 

she has made the peasants, how fruitful she has 
made the fields, how the trees grow up tall and 
comely under her eyes, and the fishes in the river 
become clean and agile at her presence. — Rheu- 
matism ! ' he would cry, on some malapert interrup- 
tion, ' Oh yes, I believe we do have a little rheu- 
matism. That could hardly be avoided, you know, 
on a river. And of course the place stands a little 
low ; and the meadows are marshy, there 's no doubt. 
But, my dear sir, look at Bourron ! Bourron stands 
high. Bourron is close to the forest ; plenty of ozone 
there, you would say. Well, compared with Gretz, 
Bourron is a perfect shambles.' 

The morning after he had been summoned to the 
dying mountebank, the Doctor visited the wharf at 
the tail of his garden, and had a long look at the 
running water. This he called prayer ; but whether 
his adorations were addressed to the goddess Hygieia 
or some more orthodox deity, never plainly appeared. 
For he had uttered doubtful oracles, sometimes 
declaring that a river was the type of bodily health, 
sometimes extolling it as the great moral preacher, 
continually preaching peace, continuity, and diligence 
to man's tormented spirits. After he had watched a 
mile or so of the clear water running by before his eyes, 
seen a fish or two come to the surface with a gleam of 
silver, and sufficiently admired the long shadows of 
the trees falling half across the river from the opposite 
bank, with patches of moving sunlight in between, 
he strolled once more up the garden and through his 
house into the street, feeling cool and renovated. 
330 



MORNING TALK 

The sound of his feet upon the causeway began 
the business of the day ; for the village was still 
sound asleep. The church tower looked very airy in 
the sunlight ; a few birds that turned about it seemed 
to swim in an atmosphere of more than usual rarity ; 
and the Doctor, walking in long transparent shadows, 
rilled his lungs amply, and proclaimed himself well 
contented with the morning. 

On one of the posts before Tentaillon's carriage 
entry he espied a little dark figure perched in a 
meditative attitude, and immediately recognised 
Jean-Marie. 

' Aha ! ' he said, stopping before him humorously, 
with a hand on either knee. ' So we rise early in 
the morning, do we ? It appears to me that we have 
all the vices of a philosopher.' 

The boy got to his feet and made a grave salutation. 

' And how is our patient ? ' asked Desprez. 

It appeared the patient was about the same. 

*■ And why do you rise early in the morning ? ' he 
pursued. 

Jean-Marie, after a long silence, professed that he 
hardly knew. 

' You hardly know ? ' repeated Desprez. ' We 
hardly know anything, my man, until we try to 
learn. Interrogate your consciousness. Come, push 
me this inquiry home. Do you like it ? ' 

' Yes,' said the boy slowly ; ' yes, I like it.' 

' And why do you like it ? ' continued the Doctor. 
' (We are now pursuing the Socratic method.) Why 
do you like it ? ' 

33* 



THE TREASURE OF FRANCHARD 

' It is quiet,' answered Jean-Marie ; ' and I have 
nothing to do ; and then I feel as if I were good.' 

Doctor Desprez took a seat on the post at the 
opposite side. He was beginning to take an interest 
in the talk, for the boy plainly thought before he 
spoke, and tried to answer truly. ' It appears you 
have a taste for feeling good,' said the Doctor. 
' Now, there you puzzle me extremely ; for I thought 
you said you were a thief; and the two are incom- 
patible.' 

' Is it very bad to steal ? ' asked Jean-Marie. 

' Such is the general opinion, little boy,' replied 
the Doctor. 

'No ; but I mean as I stole,' explained the other. 
' For I had no choice. I think it is surely right to 
have bread ; it must be right to have bread, there 
comes so plain a want of it. And then they beat 
me cruelly if I returned with nothing,' he added. 
' I was not ignorant of right and wrong ; for before 
that I had been well taught by a priest, who was 
very kind to me.' (The Doctor made a horrible 
grimace at the word 'priest.') 'But it seemed to 
me, when one had nothing to eat and was beaten, it 
was a different affair. I would not have stolen 
for tartlets, I believe ; but any one would steal for 
baker's bread.' 

' And so I suppose,' said the Doctor, with a rising 
sneer, ' you prayed God to forgive you, and ex- 
plained the case to him at length.' 

' Why, sir ? ' asked Jean -Marie. ' I do not see.' 

' Your priest would see, however,' retorted Desprez. 
332 



MORNING TALK 

' Would he ? ' asked the boy, troubled for the 
first time. ' I should have thought God would have 
known. ' 

' Eh ? ' snarled the Doctor. 

' I should have thought God would have under- 
stood me,' replied the other. ' You do not, I see ; 
but then it was God that made me think so, was it 
not? ' 

' Little boy, little boy,' said Dr. Desprez, ' I told 
you already you had the vices of philosophy ; if you 
display the virtues also, I must go. I am a student 
of the blessed laws of health, an observer of plain 
and temperate nature in her common walks ; and I 
cannot preserve my equanimity in presence of a 
monster. Do you understand ? ' 

* No, sir,' said the boy. 

' I will make my meaning clear to you,' replied 
the Doctor. ' Look there at the sky — behind the 
belfry first, where it is so light, and then up and 
up, turning your chin back, right to the top of the 
dome, where it is already as blue as at noon. Is not 
that a beautiful colour? Does it not please the 
heart ? We have seen it all our lives, until it has 
grown in with our familiar thoughts. Now,' chang- 
ing his tone, ' suppose that sky to become suddenly 
of a live and fiery amber, like the colour of clear 
coals, and growing scarlet towards the top — I do not 
say it would be any the less beautiful ; but would 
you like it as well ? ' 

' I suppose not,' answered Jean-Marie. 

' Neither do I like you,' returned the Doctor 

333 



THE TREASURE OF FRANCHARD 

roughly. ' I hate all odd people, and you are the 
most curious little boy in all the world.' 

Jean-Marie seemed to ponder for a while, and 
then he raised his head again and looked over at the 
Doctor with an air of candid inquiry. ' But are not 
you a very curious gentleman ? ' he asked. 

The Doctor threw away his stick, bounded on the 
boy, clasped him to his bosom, and kissed him on 
both cheeks. ' Admirable, admirable imp ! ' he cried. 
'What a morning, what an hour for a theorist of 
forty-two ! No,' he continued, apostrophising heaven, 
' I did not know such boys existed ; I was ignorant 
they made them so ; I had doubted of my race ; and 
now ! It is like,' he added, picking up his stick, 
' like a lovers' meeting. I have bruised my favourite 
staff in that moment of enthusiasm. The injury, 
however, is not grave.' He caught the boy looking 
at him in obvious wonder, embarrassment, and alarm. 
' Hullo ! ' said he, ' why do you look at me like that ? 
Egad, I believe the boy despises me. Do you de- 
spise me, boy ? ' 

' Oh no,' replied Jean-Marie seriously ; ' only I 
do not understand.' 

' You must excuse me, sir,' returned the Doctor, 
with gravity ; ' I am still so young. Oh, hang him ! ' 
he added to himself. And he took his seat again and 
observed the boy sardonically. ' He has spoiled the 
quiet of my morning,' thought he. ' I shall be 
nervous all day, and have a febricule when I digest 
Let me compose myself.' And so he dismissed his 
pre-occupations by an effort of the will which he had 
334 



MORNING TALK 

long practised, and let his soul roam abroad in the 
contemplation of the morning. He inhaled the air, 
tasting it critically as a connoisseur tastes a vintage, 
and prolonging the expiration with hygienic gusto. 
He counted the little flecks of cloud along the sky. 
He followed the movements of the birds round the 
church tower — making long sweeps, hanging poised, 
or turning airy somersaults in fancy, and beating the 
wind with imaginary pinions. And in this way he 
regained peace of mind and animal composure, con- 
scious of his limbs, conscious of the sight of his eyes, 
conscious that the air had a cool taste, like a fruit, 
at the top of his throat ; and at last, in complete 
abstraction, he began to sing. The Doctor had but 
one air — ' Malbrouck sen va-t-en guerre ' ; even with 
that he was on terms of mere politeness ; and his 
musical exploits were always reserved for moments 
when he was alone and entirely happy. 

He was recalled to earth rudely by a pained 
expression on the boy's face. ' What do you think 
of my singing ? ' he inquired, stopping in the middle 
of a note ; and then, after he had waited some little 
while and received no answer, ' What do you think 
of my singing ? ' he repeated imperiously. 

' I do not like it,' faltered Jean-Marie. 

' Oh, come ! ' cried the Doctor. ' Possibly you are 
a performer yourself ? ' 

* I sing better than that,' replied the boy. 

The Doctor eyed him for some seconds in stupe- 
faction. He was aware that he was angry, and 
blushed for himself in consequence, which made him 

335 



THE TREASURE OF FRANCHARD 

angrier. ' If this is how you address your master ! ' 
he said at last, with a shrug and a flourish of his 
arms. 

' I do not speak to him at all,' returned the boy. 
' I do not like him.' 

1 Then you like me ? ' snapped Doctor Desprez, 
with unusual eagerness. 

' I do not know,' answered Jean-Marie. 

The Doctor rose. ' I shall wish you a good- 
morning,' he said. ' You are too much for me. 
Perhaps you have blood in your veins, perhaps 
celestial ichor, or perhaps you circulate nothing more 
gross than respirable air ; but of one thing I am 
inexpugnably assured : — that you are no human 
being. No, boy' — shaking his stick at him — 'you 
are not a human being. Write, write it in your 
memory — "I am not a human being — I have no 
pretension to be a human being — I am a dive, a 
dream, an angel, an acrostic, an illusion — what you 
please, but not a human being." And so accept my 
humble salutations and farewell ! ' 

And with that the Doctor made off along the 
street in some emotion, and the boy stood, mentally 
gaping, where he left him. 



CHAPTER III 
THE ADOPTION 

Madame Desprez, who answered to the Christian 
name of Anastasie, presented an agreeable type of 
336 



THE ADOPTION 

her sex ; exceedingly wholesome to look upon, a 
stout brune, with cool smooth cheeks, steady, dark 
eyes, and hands that neither art nor nature could 
improve. She was the sort of person over whom 
adversity passes like a summer cloud ; she might, in 
the worst of conjunctions, knit her brows into one 
vertical furrow for a moment, but the next it would 
be gone. She had much of the placidity of a con- 
tented nun ; with little of her piety, however ; for 
Anastasie was of a very mundane nature, fond of 
oysters and old wine, and somewhat bold pleasantries, 
and devoted to her husband for her own sake rather 
than for his. She was imperturbably good-natured, 
but had no idea of self-sacrifice. To live in that 
pleasant old house, with a green garden behind and 
bright flowers about the window, to eat and drink of 
the best, to gossip with a neighbour for a quarter of 
an hour, never to wear stays or a dress except when 
she went to Fontainebleau shopping, to be kept in 
a continual supply of racy novels, and to be married 
to Doctor Desprez and have no ground of jealousy, 
filled the cup of her nature to the brim. Those who 
had known the Doctor in bachelor days, when he 
had aired quite as many theories, but of a different 
order, attributed his present philosophy to the study 
of Anastasie. It was her brute enjoyment that he 
rationalised and perhaps vainly imitated. 

Madame Desprez was an artist in the kitchen, and 

made coffee to a nicety. She had a knack of tidiness, 

with which she had infected the Doctor ; everything 

was in its place ; everything capable of polish shone 

8— y 337 



THE TREASURE OF FRANCHARD 

gloriously ; and dust was a thing banished from her 
empire. Aline, their single servant, had no other 
business in the world but to scour and burnish. So 
Doctor Desprez lived in his house like a fatted calf, 
warmed and cosseted to his heart's content. 

The midday meal was excellent. There was a 
ripe melon, a fish from the river in a memorable 
Bearnaise sauce, a fat fowl in a fricassee, and a dish 
of asparagus, followed by some fruit. The Doctor 
drank half a bottle plus one glass, the wife half a 
bottle minus the same quantity, which was a marital 
privilege, of an excellent Cote-Rotie, seven years 
old. Then the coffee was brought, and a flask of 
Chartreuse for madame, for the Doctor despised 
and distrusted such decoctions ; and then Aline left 
the wedded pair to the pleasures of memory and 
digestion. 

' It is a very fortunate circumstance, my cherished 
one,' observed the Doctor — 'this coffee is adorable 
— a very fortunate circumstance upon the whole — 
Anastasie, I beseech you, go without that poison for 
to-day ; only one day, and you will feel the benefit, 
I pledge my reputation.' 

' What is this fortunate circumstance, my friend ? ' 
inquired Anastasie, not heeding his protest, which 
was of daily recurrence. 

' That we have no children, my beautiful,' replied 
the Doctor. ' I think of it more and more as the 
years go on, and with more and more gratitude 
towards the Power that dispenses such afflictions. 
Your health, my darling, my studious quiet, our little 
338 



THE ADOPTION 

kitchen delicacies, how they would all have suffered, 
how they would all have been sacrificed ! And for 
what? Children are the last word of human im- 
perfection. Health flees before their face. They 
cry, my dear ; they put vexatious questions ; they 
demand to be fed, to be washed, to be educated, to 
have their noses blown ; and then, when the time 
comes, they break our hearts, as I break this piece 
of sugar. A pair of professed egoists, like you and 
me, should avoid offspring, like an infidelity.' 

' Indeed ! ' said she ; and she laughed. ' Now, 
that is like you — to take credit for the thing you 
could not help.' 

'My dear,' returned the Doctor solemnly, 'we 
might have adopted.' 

' Never ! ' cried madame. ' Never, Doctor, with 
my consent. If the child were my own flesh and 
blood, I would not say no. But to take another 
person's indiscretion on my shoulders, my dear friend, 
I have too much sense.' 

' Precisely,' replied the Doctor. ' We both had. 
And I am all the better pleased with our wisdom, 
because — because ' He looked at her sharply. 

' Because what ? ' she asked, with a faint pre- 
monition of danger. 

' Because I have found the right person,' said the 
Doctor firmly, 'and shall adopt him this afternoon.' 

Anastasie looked at him out of a mist. ' You 
have lost your reason,' she said ; and there was a 
clang in her voice that seemed to threaten trouble. 

' Not so, my dear,' he replied ; ' I retain its com- 

339 



THE TREASURE OF FRANCHARD 

plete exercise. To the proof : instead of attempting 
to cloak my inconsistency, I have, by way of pre- 
paring you, thrown it into strong relief. You will 
there, I think, recognise the philosopher who has the 
ecstasy to call you wife. The fact is, I have been 
reckoning all this while Avithout an accident. I never 
thought to find a son of my own. Now, last night, 
I found one. Do not unnecessarily alarm yourself, 
my dear ; he is not a drop of blood to me that I 
know. It is his mind, darling, his mind that calls 
me father.' 

' His mind ! ' she repeated, with a titter between 
scorn and hysterics. ' His mind, indeed ! Henri, is 
this an idiotic pleasantry, or are you mad ? His 
mind ! And what of my mind ? ' 

1 Truly,' replied the Doctor, with a shrug, ' you 
have your finger on the hitch. He will be strikingly 
antipathetic to my ever beautiful Anastasie. She 
will never understand him ; he will never understand 
her. You married the animal side of my nature, 
dear ; and it is on the spiritual side that I find my 
affinity for Jean-Marie. So much so, that, to be 
perfectly frank, I stand in some awe of him myself. 
You will easily perceive that I am announcing a 
calamity for you. Do not,' he broke out in tones 
of real solicitude — ' do not give way to tears after a 
meal, Anastasie. You will certainly give yourself 
a false digestion.' 

Anastasie controlled herself. ' You know how 
willing I am to humour you,' she said, ' in all 

reasonable matters But on this point ' 

340 



THE ADOPTION 

'My dear love,' interrupted the Doctor, eager to 
prevent a refusal, ' who wished to leave Paris ? 
Who made me give up cards, and the opera, and the 
boulevard, and my social relations, and all that was 
my life before I knew you ? Have I been faithful ? 
Have I been obedient ? Have I not borne my doom 
with cheerfulness ? In all honesty, Anastasie, have 
I not a right to a stipulation on my side ? I have, 
and you know it. I stipulate my son.' 

Anastasie was aware of defeat; she struck her 
colours instantly. ' You will break my heart,' she 
sighed. 

' Not in the least,' said he. 'You will feel a trifling 
inconvenience for a month, just as I did when I was 
first brought to this vile hamlet ; then your admir- 
able sense and temper will prevail, and I see you 
already as content as ever, and making your husband 
the happiest of men.' 

'You know I can refuse you nothing,' she said, 
with a last flicker of resistance ; ' nothing that will 
make you truly happier. But will this ? Are you 
sure, my husband ? Last night, you say, you found 
him ! He may be the worst of humbugs.' 

' I think not,' replied the Doctor. ' But do not 
suppose me so unwary as to adopt him out of hand. 
I am, I flatter myself, a finished man of the world ; 
I have had all possibilities in view ; my plan is con- 
trived to meet them all. I take the lad as stable- 
boy. If he pilfer, if he grumble, if he desire to 
change, I shall see I was mistaken ; I shall recognise 
him for no son of mine, and send him tramping.' 

34i 



THE TREASURE OF FRANCHARD 

' You will never do so when the time comes,' said 
his wife ; ' I know your good heart.' 

She reached out her hand to him, with a sigh ; the 
Doctor smiled as he took it and carried it to his lips; 
he had gained his point with greater ease than he 
had dared to hope ; for perhaps the twentieth time 
he had proved the efficacy of his trusty argument, 
his Excalibur, the hint of a return to Paris. Six 
months in the capital, for a man of the Doctor's 
antecedents and relations, implied no less a calamity 
than total ruin. Anastasie had saved the remainder 
of his fortune by keeping him strictly in the country. 
The very name of Paris put her in a blue fear ; 
and she would have allowed her husband to keep a 
menagerie in the back-garden, let alone adopting a 
stable-boy, rather than permit the question of return 
to be discussed. 

About four of the afternoon, the mountebank 
rendered up his ghost ; he had never been conscious 
since his seizure. Doctor Desprez was present at 
his last passage, and declared the farce over. Then 
he took Jean-Marie by the shoulder and led him out 
into the inn garden, where there was a convenient 
bench beside the river. Here he sat him down and 
made the boy place himself on his left. 

'Jean-Marie,' he said very gravely, 'this world is 
exceedingly vast ; and even France, which is only a 
small corner of it, is a great place for a little lad like 
you. Unfortunately it is full of eager, shouldering 
people moving on ; and there are very few bakers' 
shops for so many eaters. Your master is dead ; you 
342 



THE ADOPTION 

are not fit to gain a living by yourself; you do not 
wish to steal ? No. Your situation then is undesir- 
able ; it is, for the moment, critical. On the other 
hand, you behold in me a man not old, though 
elderly, still enjoying the youth of the heart and the 
intelligence ; a man of instruction ; easily situated in 
this world's affairs ; keeping a good table : — a man, 
neither as friend nor host, to be despised. I offer 
you your food and clothes, and to teach you lessons 
in the evening, which will be infinitely more to the 
purpose for a lad of your stamp than those of all the 
priests in Europe. I propose no wages, but if ever 
you take a thought to leave me, the door shall be 
open, and I will give you a hundred francs to start 
the world upon. In return, I have an old horse and 
chaise, which you would very speedily learn to clean 
and keep in order. Do not hurry yourself to answer, 
and take it or leave it as you judge aright. Only 
remember this, that I am no sentimentalist or charit- 
able person, but a man who lives rigorously to him- 
self; and that if I make the proposal, it is for my 
own ends — it is because I perceive clearly an advan- 
tage to myself. And now, reflect.' 

' I shall be very glad. I do not see what else I 
can do. I thank you, sir, most kindly, and I will 
try to be useful,' said the boy. 

' Thank you,' said the Doctor warmly, rising at 
the same time and wiping his brow, for he had 
suffered agonies while the thing hung in the wind. 
A refusal, after the scene at noon, would have placed 
him in a ridiculous light before Anastasie. ' How 

343 



THE TREASURE OF FRANCHARD 

hot and heavy is the evening, to be sure ! I have 
always had a fancy to be a fish in summer, Jean- 
Marie, here in the Loing beside Gretz. I should lie 
under a water-lily and listen to the bells, which must 
sound most delicately down below. That would be 
a life — do you not think so too ? ' 

' Yes,' said Jean-Marie. 

' Thank God you have imagination ! ' cried the 
Doctor, embracing the boy with his usual effusive 
warmth, though it was a proceeding that seemed to 
disconcert the sufferer almost as much as if he had 
been an English schoolboy of the same age. ' And 
now,' he added, ' I will take you to my wife.' 

Madame Desprez sat in the dining-room in a cool 
wrapper. All the blinds were down, and the tile 
floor had been recently sprinkled with water; her 
eyes were half shut, but she affected to be reading a 
novel as they entered. Though she was a bustling 
woman, she enjoyed repose between-whiles and had 
a remarkable appetite for sleep. 

The Doctor went through a solemn form of intro- 
duction, adding, for the benefit of both parties, ' You 
must try to like each other for my sake.' 

'He is very pretty,' said Anastasie. — 'Will you 
kiss me, my pretty little fellow ? ' 

The Doctor was furious, and dragged her into the 
passage. ' Are you a fool, Anastasie ? ' he said. 
' What is all this I hear about the tact of women ? 
Heaven knows, I have not met with it in my ex- 
perience. You address my little philosopher as if he 
were an infant. He must be spoken to with more 
344 



THE ADOPTION 

respect, I tell you ; lie must not be kissed and 
Georgy-porgy'd like an ordinary child.' 

' 1 only did it to please you, I am sure,' replied 
Anastasie ; ' but I will try to do better. ' 

The Doctor apologised for his warmth. ' But I 
do wish him,' he continued, • to feel at home among 
us. And really your conduct was so idiotic, my 
cherished one, and so utterly and distantly out of 
place, that a saint might have been pardoned a little 
vehemence in disapproval. Do, do try— if it is pos- 
sible for a woman to understand young people — but of 
course it is not, and I waste my breath. Hold your 
tongue as much as possible at least, and observe my 
conduct narrowly ; it will serve you for a model.' 

Anastasie did as she was bidden, and considered 
the Doctor's behaviour. She observed that he em- 
braced the boy three times in the course of the 
evening, and managed generally to confound and 
abash the little fellow out of speech and appetite. 
But she had the true womanly heroism in little 
affairs. Not only did she refrain from the cheap 
revenge of exposing the Doctor's errors to himself, 
but she did her best to remove their ill effect on 
Jean-Marie. When Desprez went out for his last 
breath of air before retiring for the night, she came 
over to the boy's side and took his hand. 

'You must not be surprised nor frightened by my 
husband's manners,' she said. ' He is the kindest of 
men, but so clever that he is sometimes difficult to 
understand. You will soon grow used to him, and 
then you will love him, for that nobody can help. 

345 



THE TREASURE OF FRANCHARD 

As for me, you may be sure, I shall try to make you 
happy, and will not bother you at all. I think we 
should be excellent friends, you and I. I am not 
clever, but I am very good-natured. Will you give 
me a kiss ? ' 

He held up his face, and she took him in her arms 
and then began to cry. The woman had spoken in 
complaisance ; but she had warmed to her own words, 
and tenderness followed. The Doctor, entering, 
found them enlaced : he concluded that his wife was 
in fault; and he was just beginning, in an aAvful 

voice, ' Anastasie ,' when she looked up at him, 

smiling, with an upraised finger; and he held his 
peace, wondering, while she led the boy to his attic. 



CHAPTER IV 

THE EDUCATION OF A PHILOSOPHER 

The installation of the adopted stable-boy was thus 
happily effected, and the wheels of life continued to 
run smoothly in the Doctor's house. Jean-Marie 
did his horse and carriage duty in the morning ; 
sometimes helped in the house-work ; sometimes 
walked abroad with the Doctor, to drink wisdom 
from the fountain-head ; and was introduced at night 
to the sciences and the dead tongues. He retained 
his singular placidity of mind and manner ; he was 
rarely in fault ; but he made only a very partial 
progress in his studies, and remained much of a 
stranger in the family. 
346 



EDUCATION OF A PHILOSOPHER 

The Doctor was a pattern of regularity. All 
forenoon he worked on his great book, the Com- 
parative Pharmacopoeia, or Historical Dictionary of 
all Medicines, which as yet consisted principally of 
slips of paper and pins. When finished, it was to 
fill many personable volumes, and to combine anti- 
quarian interest with professional utility. But the 
Doctor was studious of literary graces and the pic- 
turesque ; an anecdote, a touch of manners, a moral 
qualification, or a sounding epithet was sure to be 
preferred before a piece of science ; a little more, 
and he would have written the Comparative Phar- 
macopoeia in verse ! The article ' Mummia,' for 
instance, was already complete, though the remainder 
of the work had not progressed beyond the letter A. 
It was exceedingly copious and entertaining, written 
with quaintness and colour, exact, erudite, a literary 
article ; but it would hardly have afforded guidance 
to a practising physician of to-day. The feminine 
good sense of his wife had led her to point this out 
with uncompromising sincerity ; for the Dictionary 
was duly read aloud to her, betwixt sleep and 
waking, as it proceeded towards an infinitely distant 
completion ; and the Doctor was a little sore on the 
subject of mummies, and sometimes resented an 
allusion with asperity. 

After the midday meal and a proper period of 
digestion, he walked, sometimes alone, sometimes 
accompanied by Jean-Marie ; for madame would 
have preferred any hardship rather than walk. 

She was, as I have said, a very busy person, con- 

347 



THE TREASURE OF FRANCHARD 

tinually occupied about material comforts, and ready 
to drop asleep over a novel the instant she was dis- 
engaged. This was the less objectionable, as she 
never snored or grew distempered in complexion 
when she slept. On the contrary, she looked the 
very picture of luxurious and appetising ease, and 
woke without a start to the perfect possession of her 
faculties. I am afraid she was greatly an animal, 
but she was a very nice animal to have about. In 
this way, she had little to do with Jean-Marie ; but 
the sympathy which had been established between 
them on the first night remained unbroken ; they 
held occasional conversations, mostly on household 
matters ; to the extreme disappointment of the 
Doctor, they occasionally sallied off together to that 
temple of debasing superstition, the village church ; 
madame and he, both in their Sunday's best, drove 
twice a month to Fontainebleau and returned laden 
with purchases ; and in short, although the Doctor 
still continued to regard them as irreconcilably anti- 
pathetic, their relation was as intimate, friendly, and 
confidential as their natures suffered. 

I fear, however, that in her heart of hearts 
madame kindly despised and pitied the boy. She 
had no admiration for his class of virtues ; she liked 
a smart, polite, forward, roguish sort of boy, cap in 
hand, light of foot, meeting the eye ; she liked volu- 
bility, charm, a little vice — the promise of a second 
Doctor Desprez. And it was her indefeasible belief 
that Jean-Marie was dull. ' Poor dear boy,' she had 
said once, iiow sad it is that he should be so stupid!' 
348 



EDUCATION OF A PHILOSOPHER 

She had never repeated that remark, for the Doctor 
had raged like a wild bull, denouncing the brutal 
bluntness of her mind, bemoaning his own fate to be 
so unequally mated with an ass, and, what touched 
Anastasie more nearly, menacing the table china by 
the fury of his gesticulations. But she adhered 
silently to her opinion ; and when Jean-Marie was 
sitting, stolid, blank, but not unhappy, over his 
unfinished tasks, she would snatch her opportunity 
in the Doctor's absence, go over to him, put her 
arms about his neck, lay her cheek to his, and com- 
municate her sympathy with his distress. ' Do not 
mind,' she would say ; ' I, too, am not at all clever, 
and I can assure you that it makes no difference in 
life.' 

The Doctor's view was naturally different. That 
gentleman never wearied of the sound of his own 
voice, which was, to say the truth, agreeable enough 
to hear. He now had a listener, who was not so 
cynically indifferent as Anastasie, and who some- 
times put him on his mettle by the most relevant 
objections. Besides, was he not educating the boy ? 
And education, philosophers are agreed, is the most 
philosophical of duties. What can be more heavenly 
to poor mankind than to have one's hobby grow into 
a duty to the State ? Then, indeed, do the ways of 
life become ways of pleasantness. Never had the 
Doctor seen reason to be more content with his 
endowments. Philosophy flowed smoothly from his 
lips. He was so agile a dialectician that he could 
trace his nonsense, when challenged, back to some 

349 



THE TREASURE OF FRANCHARD 

root in sense, and prove it to be a sort of flower upon 
his system. He slipped out of antinomies like a 
fish, and left his disciple marvelling at the rabbi's 
depth. 

Moreover, deep down in his heart the Doctor was 
disappointed with the ill-success of his more formal 
education. A boy, chosen by so acute an observer 
for his aptitude, and guided along the path of learn- 
ing by so philosophic an instructor, was bound, by 
the nature of the universe, to make a more obvious 
and lasting advance. Now Jean-Marie was slow in 
all things, impenetrable in others ; and his power of 
forgetting was fully on a level with his power to 
learn. Therefore the Doctor cherished his peri- 
patetic lectures, to which the boy attended, which 
he generally appeared to enjoy, and by which he 
often profited. 

Many and many were the talks they had together ; 
and health and moderation proved the subject of 
the Doctor's divagations. To these he lovingly 
returned. 

' I lead you,' he would say, ' by the green pastures. 
My system, my beliefs, my medicines, are resumed 
in one phrase — to avoid excess. Blessed nature, 
healthy, temperate nature, abhors and exterminates 
excess. Human law, in this matter, imitates at a 
great distance her provisions ; and we must strive to 
supplement the efforts of the law. Yes, boy, we 
must be a law to ourselves and for our neighbours — 
lex armata — armed, emphatic, tyrannous law. If 
you see a crapulous human ruin snuffing, dash from 
350 



EDUCATION OF A PHILOSOPHER 

him his box ! The judge, though in a way an 
admission of disease, is less offensive to me than 
either the doctor or the priest. Above all the 
doctor — the doctor and the purulent trash and 
garbage of his pharmacopoeia ! Pure air — from the 
neighbourhood of a pinetum for the sake of the 
turpentine — unadulterated wine, and the reflections 
of an unsophisticated spirit in the presence of the 
works of nature — these, my boy, are the best medical 
appliances and the best religious comforts. Devote 
yourself to these. Hark ! there are the bells of 
Bourron (the wind is in the north, it will be fair). 
How clear and airy is the sound ! The nerves are 
harmonised and quieted; the mind attuned to silence; 
and observe how easily and regularly beats the heart! 
Your unenlightened doctor would see nothing in 
these sensations ; and yet you yourself perceive they 
are a part of health. Did you remember your cin- 
chona this morning ? Good. Cinchona also is a 
work of nature ; it is, after all, only the bark of a 
tree which we might gather for ourselves if we lived 
in the locality. What a world is this ! Though a 
professed atheist, I delight to bear my testimony to 
the world. Look at the gratuitous remedies and 
pleasures that surround our path ! The river runs 
by the garden end, our bath, our fishpond, our 
natural system of drainage. There is a well in the 
court which sends up sparkling water from the 
earth's very heart, clean, cool, and, with a little 
wine, most wholesome. The district is notorious 
for its salubrity ; rheumatism is the only prevalent 

351 



THE TREASURE OF FRANCHARD 

complaint, and I myself have never had a touch of 
it. I tell you — and my opinion is based upon the 
coldest, clearest processes of reason — if I, if you, 
desired to leave this home of pleasures, it would be 
the duty, it would be the privilege, of our best friend 
to prevent us with a pistol bullet' 

One beautiful June day they sat upon the hill out- 
side the village. The river, as blue as heaven, shone 
here and there among the foliage. The indefatigable 
birds turned and flickered about Gretz church-tower. 
A healthy wind blew from over the forest, and the 
sound of innumerable thousands of tree-tops and 
innumerable millions on millions of green leaves was 
abroad in the air, and filled the ear with something 
between whispered speech and singing. It seemed 
as if every blade of grass must hide a cigale ; and the 
fields rang merrily with their music, jingling far and 
near as with the sleigh-bells of the fairy queen. 
From their station on the slope the eye embraced 
a large space of poplared plain upon the one hand, 
the waving hill-tops of the forest on the other, and 
Gretz itself in the middle, a handful of roofs. Under 
the bestriding arch of the blue heavens, the place 
seemed dwindled to a toy. It seemed incredible 
that people dwelt, and could find room to turn or 
air to breathe, in such a corner of the world. The 
thought came home to the boy, perhaps for the first 
time, and he gave it words. 

' How small it looks ! ' he sighed. 

'Ay,' replied the Doctor, 'small enough now. 
Yet it was once a walled city ; thriving, full of 
35 2 



EDUCATION OF A PHILOSOPHER 

furred burgesses and men in armour, humming with 
affairs ; — with tall spires, for aught that I know, and 
portly towers along the battlements. A thousand 
chimneys ceased smoking at the curfew bell. There 
were gibbets at the gate as thick as scarecrows. In 
time of war, the assault swarmed against it with lad- 
ders, the arrows fell like leaves, the defenders sallied 
hotly over the drawbridge, each side uttered its cry 
as they plied their weapons. Do you know that the 
walls extended as far as the Commanderie ? Tradi- 
tion so reports. Alas ! what a long way off is all 
this confusion — nothing left of it but my quiet 
words spoken in your ear — and the town itself 
shrunk to the hamlet underneath us ! By and by 
came the English wars — you shall hear more of the 
English, a stupid people, who sometimes blundered 
into good — and Gretz was taken, sacked, and burned. 
It is the history of many towns ; but Gretz never 
rose again ; it was never rebuilt ; its ruins were a 
quarry to serve the growth of rivals ; and the stones 
of Gretz are now erect along the streets of Nemours. 
It gratifies me that our old house was the first to 
rise after the calamity ; when the town had come to 
an end, it inaugurated the hamlet.' 

' I, too, am glad of that,' said Jean-Marie. 

' It should be the temple of the humbler virtues,' 
responded the Doctor with a savoury gusto. ' Perhaps 
one of the reasons why I love my little hamlet as 
I do, is that we have a similar history, she and I. 
Have I told you that I was once rich ? ' 

' I do not think so,' answered Jean-Marie. ' I do 
8— z 353 



THE TREASURE OF FRANCHARD 

not think I should have forgotten. I am sorry you 
should have lost your fortune.' 

' Sorry ? ' cried the Doctor. ' Why, I find I have 
scarce begun your education after all. Listen to 
me ! AVould you rather live in the old Gretz or in 
the new, free from the alarms of war, with the green 
country at the door, without noise, passports, the 
exactions of the soldiery, or the jangle of the curfew- 
bell to send us off to bed by sundown ? ' 

' I suppose I should prefer the new,' replied the 
boy. 

' Precisely,' returned the Doctor ; ' so do I. And, 
in the same way, I prefer my present moderate 
fortune to my former wealth. Golden mediocrity ! 
cried the adorable ancients ; and I subscribe to their 
enthusiasm. Have I not good wine, good food, 
good air, the fields and the forest for my walk, a 
house, an admirable wife, a boy whom I protest I 
cherish like a son? Now, if I were still rich, I 
should indubitably make my residence in Paris — 
you know Paris — Paris and Paradise are not con- 
vertible terms. This pleasant noise of the wind 
streaming among leaves changed into the grinding 
Babel of the street, the stupid glare of plaster 
substituted for this quiet pattern of greens and 
greys, the nerves shattered, the digestion falsified — 
picture the fall ! Already you perceive the con- 
sequences : the mind is stimulated, the heart steps 
to a different measure, and the man is himself no 
longer. I have passionately studied myself — the 
true business of philosophy. I know my character 
354 



EDUCATION OF A PHILOSOPHER 

as the musician knows the ventages of his flute. 
Should I return to Paris, I should ruin myself 
gambling; nay, I go further — I should break the 
heart of my Anastasie with infidelities.' 

This was too much for Jean-Marie. That a place 
should so transform the most excellent of men tran- 
scended his belief. Paris, he protested, was even 
an agreeable place of residence. ' Nor when 1 lived 
in that city did I feel much difference,' he pleaded. 

' What ! ' cried the Doctor. ' Did you not steal 
when you were there ? ' 

But the boy could never be brought to see that 
he had done anything wrong when he stole. Nor, 
indeed, did the Doctor think he had ; but that 
gentleman was never very scrupulous when in want 
of a retort. 

' And now,' he concluded, ' do you begin to under- 
stand ? My only friends were those who ruined me. 
Gretz has been my academy, my sanatorium, my 
heaven of innocent pleasures. If millions are offered 
me, I wave them back : Retro Sathanas ! — Evil one, 
begone ! Fix your mind on my example ; despise 
riches, avoid the debasing influence of cities. Hy- 
giene — hygiene and mediocrity of fortune — these be 
your watchwords during life ! ' 

The Doctor's system of hygiene strikingly coin- 
cided with his tastes ; and his picture of the perfect 
life was a faithful description of the one he was lead- 
ing at the time. But it is easy to convince a boy, 
whom you supply with all the facts for the discus- 
sion. And besides, there was one thing admirable 

355 



THE TREASURE OF FRANCHARD 

in the philosophy, and that was the enthusiasm of 
the philosopher. There was never any one more 
vigorously determined to be pleased ; and if he was 
not a great logician, and so had no right to convince 
the intellect, he was certainly something of a poet, 
and had a fascination to seduce the heart. Wliat 
he could not achieve in his customary humour of a 
radiant admiration of himself and his circumstances, 
he sometimes effected in his fits of gloom. 

' Boy,' he would say, ' avoid me to-day. If I were 
superstitious, I should even beg for an interest in 
your prayers. I am in the black fit ; the evil spirit 
of King Saul, the hag of the merchant Abudah, the 
personal devil of the mediaeval monk, is with me — is 
in me,' tapping on his breast. 'The vices of my 
nature are now uppermost ; innocent pleasures woo 
me in vain ; I long for Paris, for my wallowing in 
the mire. See,' he would continue, producing a 
handful of silver, * I denude myself, I am not to be 
trusted with the price of a fare. Take it, keep it 
for me, squander it on deleterious candy, throw it in 
the deepest of the river — I will homologate your 
action. Save me from that part of myself which I 
disown. If you see me falter, do not hesitate ; if 
necessary, wreck the train ! I speak, of course, by 
a parable. Any extremity were better than for me 
to reach Paris alive.' 

Doubtless the Doctor enjoyed these little scenes, 

as a variation in his part; they represented the 

Byronic element in the somewhat artificial poetry of 

his existence ; but to the boy, though he was dimly 

356 



EDUCATION OF A PHILOSOPHER 

aware of their theatricality, they represented more. 
The Doctor made perhaps too little, the boy pos- 
sibly too much, of the reality and gravity of these 
temptations. 

One day a great light shone for Jean-Marie. 
• Could not riches be used well ? ' he asked. 

' In theory, yes,' replied the Doctor. ' But it is 
found in experience that no one does so. All the 
world imagine they will be exceptional when they 
grow wealthy ; but possession is debasing, new 
desires spring up ; and the silly taste for ostentation 
eats out the heart of pleasure.' 

' Then you might be better if you had less,' said 
the boy. 

' Certainly not,' replied the Doctor ; but his voice 
quavered as he spoke. 

' Why ? ' demanded pitiless innocence. 

Doctor Desprez saw all the colours of the rainbow 
in a moment ; the stable universe appeared to be 
about capsizing with him. ' Because,' said he — 
affecting deliberation after an obvious pause — 'be- 
cause I have formed my life for my present income. 
It is not good for men of my years to be violently 
dissevered from their habits.' 

That was a sharp brush. The Doctor breathed 
hard, and fell into taciturnity for the afternoon. As 
for the boy, he was delighted with the resolution of 
his doubts ; even wondered that he had not foreseen 
the obvious and conclusive answer. His faith in the 
Doctor was a stout piece of goods. Desprez was 
inclined to be a sheet in the wind's eye after dinner, 

357 



THE TREASURE OF FRANCHARD 

especially after Rhone wine, his favourite weakness. 
He would then remark on the warmth of his feeling 
for Anastasie, and with inflamed cheeks and a loose, 
flustered smile, debate upon all sorts of topics, and 
be feebly and indiscreetly witty. But the adopted 
stable-boy would not permit himself to entertain a 
doubt that savoured of ingratitude. It is quite true 
that a man may be a second father to you, and yet 
take too much to drink ; but the best natures are 
ever slow to accept such truths. 

The Doctor thoroughly possessed his heart, but 
perhaps he exaggerated his influence over his mind. 
Certainly Jean-Marie adopted some of his master's 
opinions, but I have yet to learn that he ever sur- 
rendered one of his own. Convictions existed in 
him by divine right ; they were virgin, unwrought, 
the brute metal of decision. He could add others 
indeed, but he could not put away ; neither did he 
care if they were perfectly agreed among themselves ; 
and his spiritual pleasures had nothing to do with 
turning them over or justifying them in words. 
Words were with him a mere accomplishment, like 
dancing. When he was by himself, his pleasures 
were almost vegetable. He would slip into the 
woods towards Acheres, and sit in the mouth of a 
cave among grey birches. His soul stared straight 
out of his eyes ; he did not move or think ; sunlight, 
thin shadows moving in the wind, the edge of firs 
against the sky, occupied and bound his faculties. 
He was pure unity, a spirit wholly abstracted. A 
single mood filled him, to which all the objects of 
358 



EDUCATION OF A PHILOSOPHER 

sense contributed, as the colours of the spectrum 
merge and disappear in white light 

So while the Doctor made himself drunk with 
words, the adopted stable-boy bemused himself with 
silence. 



CHAPTER V 

TREASURE TROVE 

The Doctor's carriage was a two-wheeled gig with 
a hood ; a kind of vehicle in much favour among 
country doctors. On how many roads has one not 
seen it, a great way off between the poplars ! — in 
how many village streets, tied to a gate-post ! This 
sort of chariot is affected — particularly at the trot — 
by a kind of pitching movement to and fro across 
the axle, which well entitles it to the style of a 
Noddy. The hood describes a considerable arc 
against the landscape, with a solemnly absurd effect 
on the contemplative pedestrian. To ride in such a 
carriage cannot be numbered among the things that 
appertain to glory ; but I have no doubt it may be 
useful in liver-complaint. Thence, perhaps, its wide 
popularity among physicians. 

One morning early, Jean-Marie led forth the 
Doctor's noddy, opened the gate, and mounted to 
the driving-seat. The Doctor followed, arrayed 
from top to toe in spotless linen, armed with an 
immense flesh-coloured umbrella, and girt with a 

359 



THE TREASURE OF FRANCHARD 

botanical case on a baldric ; and the equipage drove 
off smartly in a breeze of its own provocation. 
They were bound for Franchard, to collect plants, 
with an eye to the Comparative Pharmacopoeia. 

A little rattling on the open roads, and they came 
to the borders of the forest and struck into an un- 
frequented track ; the noddy yawed softly over the 
sand, with an accompaniment of snapping twigs. 
There was a great, green, softly murmuring cloud of 
congregated foliage overhead. In the arcades of the 
forest the air retained the freshness of the night. 
The athletic bearing of the trees, each carrying its 
leafy mountain, pleased the mind like so many 
statues ; and the lines of the trunk led the eye 
admiringly upward to where the extreme leaves 
sparkled in a patch of azure. Squirrels leaped in 
mid-air. It was a proper spot for a devotee of the 
goddess Hygieia. 

' Have you been to Franchard, Jean-Marie ? ' 
inquired the Doctor. ' I fancy not' 

' Never,' replied the boy. 

' It is a ruin in a gorge,' continued Desprez, adopt- 
ing his expository voice ; ' the ruin of a hermitage 
and chapel. History tells us much of Franchard ; 
how the recluse was often slain by robbers ; how he 
lived on a most insufficient diet ; how he was ex- 
pected to pass his days in prayer. A letter is pre- 
served addressed to one of these solitaries by the 
superior of his order, full of admirable hygienic 
advice ; bidding him go from his book to praying, 
and so back again, for variety's sake, and when he 
360 



TREASURE TROVE 

was weary of both to stroll about his garden and 
observe the honey-bees. It is to this day my own 
system. You must often have remarked me leaving 
the Pharmacopoeia — often even in the middle of a 
phrase — to come forth into the sun and air. I 
admire the writer of that letter from my heart ; he 
was a man of thought on the most important sub- 
jects. But, indeed, had I lived in the Middle Ages 
(I am heartily glad that I did not) I should have 
been an eremite myself — if I had not been a pro- 
fessed buffoon, that is. These were the only philo- 
sophical lives yet open : laughter or prayer ; sneers, 
we might say, and tears. Until the sun of the 
Positive arose, the wise man had to make his choice 
between these two.' 

' I have been a buffoon, of course,' observed Jean- 
Marie. 

' I cannot imagine you to have excelled in your 
profession,' said the Doctor, admiring the boy's 
gravity. ' Do you ever laugh ? ' 

' Oh yes,' replied the other. ' I laugh often. I 
am very fond of jokes.' 

' Singular being ! ' said Desprez. ' But I divagate 
(I perceive in a thousand ways that I grow old). 
Franchard was at length destroyed in the English 
wars, the same that levelled Gretz. But — here is 
the point — the hermits (for there were already more 
than one) had foreseen the danger and carefully con- 
cealed the sacrificial vessels. These vessels were of 
monstrous value, Jean-Marie — monstrous value — 
priceless, we may say ; exquisitely worked, of exqui- 

361 



THE TREASURE OF FRANCHARD 

site material. And now, mark me, they have never 
been found. In the reign of Louis Quatorze some 
fellows were digging hard by the ruins. Suddenly — 
tock ! — the spade hit upon an obstacle. Imagine 
the men looking one to another ; imagine how their 
hearts bounded, how their colour came and went. 
It was a coffer, and in Franchard, the place of buried 
treasure ! They tore it open like famished beasts. 
Alas ! it was not the treasure ; only some priestly 
robes, which, at the touch of the eating air, fell upon 
themselves and instantly wasted into dust. The 
perspiration of these good fellows turned cold upon 
them, Jean-Marie. I will pledge my reputation, if 
there was anything like a cutting wind, one or other 
had a pneumonia for his trouble.' 

' I should like to have seen them turning into 
dust,' said Jean-Marie. ' Otherwise, I should not 
have cared so greatly.' 

' You have no imagination,' cried the Doctor. 
' Picture to yourself the scene. Dwell on the idea — 
a great treasure lying in the earth for centuries : the 
material for a giddy, copious, opulent existence not 
employed ; dresses and exquisite pictures unseen ; 
the swiftest galloping horses not stirring a hoof, 
arrested by a spell ; women with the beautiful 
faculty of smiles, not smiling; cards, dice, opera 
singing, orchestras, castles, beautiful parks and gar- 
dens, big ships with a tower of sailcloth, all lying 
unborn in a coffin — and the stupid trees growing 
overhead in the sunlight, year after year. The 
thought drives one frantic' 
362 



TREASURE TROVE 

' It is only money,' replied Jean-Marie. ' It would 
do harm.' 

' Oh, come ! ' cried Desprez, ' that is philosophy ; it 
is all very fine, but not to the point just now. And 
besides, it is not " only money," as you call it ; there 
are works of art in the question ; the vessels were 
carved. You speak like a child. You weary me 
exceedingly, quoting my words out of all logical 
connection, like a parroquet' 

' And at any rate, we have nothing to do with it,' 
returned the boy submissively. 

They struck the Route Ronde at that moment ; 
and the sudden change to the rattling causeway 
combined, with the Doctor's irritation, to keep him 
silent. The noddy jigged along ; the trees went by, 
looking on silently, as if they had something on their 
minds. The Quadrilateral was passed; then came 
Franchard. They put up the horse at the little 
solitary inn, and went forth strolling. The gorge 
was dyed deeply with heather ; the rocks and birches 
standing luminous in the sun. A great humming of 
bees about the flowers disposed Jean-Marie to sleep, 
and he sat down against a clump of heather, while 
the Doctor went briskly to and fro, with quick turns, 
culling his simples. 

The boy's head had fallen a little forward, his eyes 
were closed, his fingers had fallen lax about his knees, 
when a sudden cry called him to his feet. It was a 
strange sound, thin and brief; it fell dead, and silence 
returned as though it had never been interrupted. 
He had not recognised the Doctor's voice ; but, as 

363 



THE TREASURE OF FRANCHARD 

there was no one else in all the valley, it was plainly 
the Doctor who had given utterance to the sound. 
He looked right and left, and there was Desprez, 
standing in a niche between two boulders, and look- 
ing round on his adopted son with a countenance as 
white as paper. 

' A viper ! ' cried Jean-Marie, running towards 
him. ' A viper ! You are bitten ! ' 

The Doctor came down heavily out of the cleft, 
and advanced in silence to meet the boy, whom he 
took roughly by the shoulder. 

' I have found it,' he said, with a gasp. 

' A plant ? ' asked Jean-Marie. 

Desprez had a fit of unnatural gaiety, which the 
rocks took up and mimicked. ' A plant ! ' he re- 
peated scornfully. 'Well — yes — a plant. And 
here,' he added suddenly, showing his right hand, 
which he had hitherto concealed behind his back — 
'here is one of the bulbs.' 

Jean-Marie saw a dirty platter, coated with earth. 

' That ? ' said he. ' It is a plate ! ' 

'It is a coach and horses,' cried the Doctor. 
' Boy,' he continued, growing warmer, ' I plucked 
away a great pad of moss from between these 
boulders, and disclosed a crevice ; and when I 
looked in, what do you suppose I saw ? I saw 
a house in Paris with a court and garden, I saw 
my wife shining with diamonds, I saw myself a 
deputy, I saw you — well, I — I saw your future,' 
he concluded, rather feebly. ' I have just discovered 
America,' he added. 
364 



TREASURE TROVE 

k But what is it ? ' asked the boy. 

' The Treasure of Franchard,' cried the Doctor; and, 
throwing his brown straw hat upon the ground, he 
whooped like an Indian and sprang upon Jean-Marie, 
whom he suffocated witli embraces and bedewed 
with tears. Then he flung himself down among the 
heather and once more laughed until the valley rang. 

But the boy had now an interest of his own, a 
boy's interest. No sooner was he released from the 
Doctor's accolade than he ran to the boulders, 
sprang into the niche, and, thrusting his hand into 
the crevice, drew forth one after another, encrusted 
with the earth of ages, the flagons, candlesticks, and 
patens of the hermitage of Franchard. A casket 
came last, tightly shut and very heavy. 

' Oh what fun ! ' he cried. 

But when he looked back at the Doctor, who had 
followed close behind and was silently observing, the 
words died from his lips. Desprez was once more 
the colour of ashes ; his lip worked and trembled ; a 
sort of bestial greed possessed him. 

' This is childish,' he said. ' We lose precious 
time. Back to the inn, harness the trap, and bring 
it to yon bank. Run for your life, and remember — 
not one whisper. I stay here to watch.' 

Jean-Marie did as he was bid, though not without 
surprise. The noddy was brought round to the spot 
indicated ; and the two gradually transported the 
treasure from its place of concealment to the boot 
below the driving-seat. Once it was all stored the 
Doctor recovered his gaiety. 

365 



THE TREASURE OF FRANCHARD 

' I pay my grateful duties to the genius of this 
dell,' he said. ' Oh for a live coal, a heifer, and a jar 
of country wine ! I am in the vein for sacrifice, 
for a superb libation. Well, and why not ? AVe are 
at Franchard. English pale ale is to be had — not 
classical, indeed, but excellent Boy, we shall drink 
ale?' 

'But I thought it was so unwholesome,' said 
Jean-Marie, 'and very dear besides.' 

' Fiddle-de-dee ! ' exclaimed the Doctor gaily. ' To 
the inn ! ' 

And he stepped into the noddy, tossing his head, 
with an elastic, youthful air. The horse was turned, 
and in a feAV seconds they drew up beside the palings 
of the inn garden. 

' Here,' said Desprez — ' here, near the table, so 
that we may keep an eye upon things.' 

They tied the horse, and entered the garden, the 
Doctor singing, now in fantastic high notes, now 
producing deep reverberations from his chest. He 
took a seat, rapped loudly on the table, assailed the 
waiter with witticisms ; and when the bottle of Bass 
was at length produced, far more charged with gas 
than the most delirious champagne, he filled out a 
long glassful of froth and pushed it over to Jean- 
Marie. ' Drink,' he said ; ' drink deep.' 

' I would rather not,' faltered the boy, true to his 
training. 

' What ? ' thundered Desprez. 

' I am afraid of it,' said Jean-Marie : ' my 

stomach ' 

366 



TREASURE TROVE 

' Take it or leave it,' interrupted Desprez fiercely : 
' but understand it once for all — there is nothing so 
contemptible as a precisian.' 

Here was a new lesson ! The boy sat bemused, 
looking at the glass but not tasting it, while the 
Doctor emptied and refilled his own, at first with 
clouded brow, but gradually yielding to the sun, the 
heady, prickling beverage, and his own predisposition 
to be happy. 

' Once in a way,' he said at last, by way of a 
concession to the boy's more rigorous attitude, ' once 
in a way, and at so critical a moment, this ale is a 
nectar for the gods. The habit, indeed, is debasing ; 
wine, the juice of the grape, is the true drink of the 
Frenchman, as I have often had occasion to point 
out ; and I do not know that I can blame you for 
refusing this outlandish stimulant. You can have 
some wine and cakes. Is the bottle empty ? Well, 
we will not be proud ; we will have pity on your 
glass.' 

The beer being done, the Doctor chafed bitterly 
while Jean-Marie finished his cakes. ' I burn to be 
gone,' he said, looking at his watch. ' Good God, 
how slow you eat ! ' And yet to eat slowly was 
his own particular prescription, the main secret of 
longevity ! 

His martyrdom, however, reached an end at last ; 
the pair resumed their places in the buggy, and 
Desprez, leaning luxuriously back, announced his 
intention of proceeding to Fontainebleau. 

' To Fontainebleau ? ' repeated Jean-Marie. 

367 



THE TREASURE OF FRANCHARD 

' My words are always measured,' said the Doctor. 
'On!' 

The Doctor was driven through the glades of 
paradise ; the air, the light, the shining leaves, the 
very movements of the vehicle, seemed to fall in 
tune with his golden meditations ; with his head 
thrown back, he dreamed a series of sunny visions, 
ale and pleasure dancing in his veins. At last he 
spoke. 

' I shall telegraph for Casimir,' he said. ' Good 
Casimir ! a fellow of the lower order of intelligence, 
Jean-Marie, distinctly not creative, not poetic ; and 
yet he will repay your study ; his fortune is vast, 
and is entirely due to his own exertions. He is the 
very fellow to help us to dispose of our trinkets, find 
us a suitable house in Paris, and manage the details 
of our installation. Admirable Casimir, one of my 
oldest comrades ! It was on his advice, I may add, 
that I invested my little fortune in Turkish bonds ; 
when we have added these spoils of the mediaeval 
Church to our stake in the Mahometan empire, little 
boy, we shall positively roll among doubloons, 
positively roll ! — Beautiful forest,' he cried, ' farewell ! 
Though called to other scenes, I will not forget thee. 
Thy name is graven in my heart. Under the 
influence of prosperity I become dithyrambic, Jean- 
Marie. Such is the impulse of the natural soul ; 
such was the constitution of primaeval man. And I 
— well, I will not refuse the credit— I have preserved 
my youth like a virginity ; another, who should have 
led the same snoozing, countrified existence for 
368 



TREASURE TROVE 

these years, another had become rusted, become 
stereotype ; but I, I praise my happy constitution, 
retain the spring unbroken. Fresh opulence and a 
new sphere of duties find me unabated in ardour and 
only more mature by knowledge. For this pro- 
spective change, Jean-Marie — it may probably have 
shocked you. Tell me now, did it not strike you as 
an inconsistency ? Confess — it is useless to dissemble 
— it pained you ? ' 

' Yes,' said the boy. 

'You see,' returned the Doctor, with sublime 
fatuity, ' I read your thoughts ! Nor am I surprised 
— your education is not yet complete ; the higher 
duties of men have not been yet presented to you 
fully. A hint — till we have leisure — must suffice. 
Now that I am once more in possession of a modest 
competence ; now that I have so long prepared 
myself in silent meditation, it becomes my superior 
duty to proceed to Paris. My scientific training, 
my undoubted command of language, mark me out 
for the service of my country. Modesty in such a 
case would be a snare. If sin were a philosophical 
expression, I should call it sinful. A man must not 
deny his manifest abilities, for that is to evade his 
obligations. I must be up and doing ; I must be no 
skulker in life's battle.' 

So he rattled on, copiously greasing the joint of 
his inconsistency with words ; while the boy listened 
silently, his eyes fixed on the horse, his mind seeth- 
ing. It was all lost eloquence ; no array of words 
could unsettle a belief of Jean-Marie's ; and he 
8 — 2 a 369 



THE TREASURE OF FRANCHARD 

drove into Fontainebleau filled with pity, horror, 
indignation, and despair. 

In the town Jean-Marie was kept a fixture on the 
driving-seat, to guard the treasure ; while the Doctor, 
with a singular, slightly tipsy airiness of manner, 
fluttered in and out of caf£s, where he shook hands 
with garrison officers, and mixed an absinthe with 
the nicety of old experience ; in and out of shops, 
from which he returned laden with costly fruits, real 
turtle, a magnificent piece of silk for his wife, a 
preposterous cane for himself, and a k£pi of the 
newest fashion for the boy ; in and out of the tele- 
graph office, whence he despatched his telegram, 
and where three hours later he received an answer 
promising a visit on the morrow, and generally 
pervaded Fontainebleau with the first fine aroma of 
his divine good-humour. 

The sun was very low when they set forth again ; 
the shadows of the forest trees extended across the 
broad white road that led them home; the penetrating 
odour of the evening wood had already arisen, like a 
cloud of incense, from that broad field of tree-tops ; 
and even in the streets of the town, where the air 
had been baked all day between white walls, it came 
in whiffs and pulses, like a distant music. Half-way 
home, the last gold flicker vanished from a great 
oak upon the left ; and when they came forth be- 
yond the borders of the wood, the plain was already 
sunken in pearly greyness, and a great, pale moon 
came swinging skyward through the filmy poplars. 

The Doctor sang, the Doctor whistled, the Doctor 
37o 



TREASURE TROVE 

talked. He spoke of the woods, and the wars, and 
the deposition of dew ; he brightened and babbled of 
Paris ; he soared into cloudy bombast on the glories 
of the political arena. All was to be changed ; as 
the day departed, it took with it the vestiges of an 
outworn existence, and to-morrow's sun was to 
inaugurate the new. ' Enough,' he cried, ' of this 
life of maceration ! ' His wife (still beautiful, or he 
was sadly partial) was to be no longer buried ; she 
should now shine before society. Jean-Marie would 
find the world at his feet ; the roads open to success, 
wealth, honour, and posthumous renown. ' And oh, 
by the way,' said he, 'for God's sake keep your 
tongue quiet ! You are, of course, a very silent 
fellow ; it is a quality I gladly recognise in you — 
silence, golden silence ! But this is a matter of 
gravity. No word must get abroad ; none but the 
good Casimir is to be trusted ; we shall probably 
dispose of the vessels in England.' 

' But are they not even ours ? ' the boy said, 
almost with a sob — it was the only time he had 
spoken. 

' Ours in this sense, that they are nobody else's,' 
replied the Doctor. ' But the State would have 
some claim. If they were stolen, for instance, we 
should be unable to demand their restitution ; we 
should have no title ; we should be unable even to 
communicate with the police. Such is the monstrous 
condition of the law. 1 It is a mere instance of what 
remains to be done, of the injustices that may yet 

1 Let it be so, for my tale ! 

371 



THE TREASURE OF FRANCHARD 

be righted by an ardent, active, and philosophical 
deputy.' 

Jean-Marie put his faith in Madame Desprez ; and 
as they drove forward down the road from Bourron, 
between the rustling poplars, he prayed in his teeth, 
and whipped up the horse to an unusual speed. 
Surely, as soon as they arrived, madame would assert 
her character, and bring this waking nightmare to 
an end. 

Their entrance into Gretz was heralded and ac- 
companied by a most furious barking ; all the dogs 
in the village seemed to smell the treasure in the 
noddy. But there was no one in the street, save 
three lounging landscape-painters at Tentaillon's 
door. Jean-Marie opened the green gate and led 
in the horse and carriage ; and almost at the same 
moment Madame Desprez came to the kitchen 
threshold with a lighted lantern ; for the moon was 
not yet high enough to clear the garden walls. 

' Close the gates, Jean-Marie ! ' cried the Doctor, 
somewhat unsteadily alighting. — • Anastasie, where 
is Aline ? ' 

' She has gone to Montereau to see her parents,' 
said madame. 

' All is for the best ! ' exclaimed the Doctor fer- 
vently. ' Here, quick, come near to me ; I do not 
wish to speak too loud,' he continued. ' Darling, we 
are wealthy ! ' 

' Wealthy ! ' repeated the wife. 

' T have found the treasure of Fran chard,' replied 
her husband. ' See, here are the first-fruits ; a 
372 



TREASURE TROVE 

pine-apple, a dress for my ever-beautiful — it will 
suit her — trust a husband's, trust a lover's taste ! 
Embrace me, darling ! This grimy episode is over ; 
the butterfly unfolds its painted wings. To-morrow 
Casimir will come ; in a week we may be in Paris — 
happy at last ! You shall have diamonds. — Jean- 
Marie, take it out of the boot, with religious care, 
and bring it piece by piece into the dining-room. 
We shall have plate at table ! Darling, hasten and 
prepare this turtle ; it will be a whet — it will be an 
addition to our meagre ordinary. I myself will 
proceed to the cellar. We shall have a bottle of 
that little Beaujolais you like, and finish with the 
Hermitage ; there are still three bottles left. Worthy 
wine for a worthy occasion.' 

' But, my husband, you put me in a whirl,' she 
cried. ' I do not comprehend.' 

' The turtle, my adored, the turtle ! ' cried the 
Doctor; an.d he pushed her towards the kitchen, 
lantern and all. 

Jean-Marie stood dumfoundered. He had pictured 
to himself a different scene — a more immediate pro- 
test, and his hope began to dwindle on the spot. 

The Doctor was everywhere, a little doubtful on 
his legs, perhaps, and now and then taking the wall 
with his shoulder ; for it was long since he had 
tasted absinthe, and he was even then reflecting that 
the absinthe had been a misconception. Not that he 
regretted excess on such a glorious day, but he made 
a mental memorandum to beware ; he must not, a 
second time, become the victim of a deleterious habit. 

373 



THE TREASURE OF FRANCHARD 

He had his wine out of the cellar in a twinkling ; he 
arranged the sacrificial vessels, some on the white 
table-cloth, some on the sideboard, still crusted with 
historic earth. He was in and out of the kitchen, 
plying Anastasie with vermouth, heating her with 
glimpses of the future, estimating their new wealth 
at ever larger figures ; and before they sat down to 
supper, the lady's virtue had melted in the fire of his 
enthusiasm, her timidity had disappeared ; she, too, 
had begun to speak disparagingly of the life at Gretz ; 
and as she took her place and helped the soup, her 
eyes shone with the glitter of prospective diamonds. 

All through the meal she and the Doctor made 
and unmade fairy plans. They bobbed and bowed 
and pledged each other. Their faces ran over with 
smiles ; their eyes scattered sparkles, as they pro- 
jected the Doctor's political honours and the lady's 
drawing-room ovations. 

* But you will not be a Red ! ' cried Anastasie. 

' I am Left Centre to the core,' replied the Doctor. 

' Madame Gastein will present us — we shall find 
ourselves forgotten,' said the lady. 

' Never,' protested the Doctor. ' Beauty and talent 
leave a mark.' 

' I have positively forgotten how to dress,' she 
sighed. 

* Darling, you make me blush,' cried he. ' Yours 
has been a tragic marriage ! ' 

4 But your success — to see you appreciated, 
honoured, your name in all the papers, that will be 
more than pleasure — it will be heaven ! ' she cried. 
374 



TREASURE TROVE 

'And once a week,' said the Doctor, archly scan- 
ning the syllables, 'once a week — one good little 
game of baccarat ? ' 

'Only once a week?' she questioned, threatening 
him with a ringer. 

' 1 swear it by my political honour,' cried he. 

' I spoil you,' she said, and gave him her hand. 

He covered it with kisses. 

Jean-Marie escaped into the night. The moon 
swung high over Gretz. He went down to the 
garden end and sat on the jetty. The river ran by 
with eddies of oily silver, and a low monotonous 
song. Faint veils of mist moved among the poplars 
on the farther side. The reeds were quietly nodding. 
A hundred times already had the boy sat, on such 
a night, and watched the streaming river with 
untroubled fancy. And this perhaps was to be the 
last He Avas to leave this familiar hamlet, this 
green, rustling country, this bright and quiet stream ; 
he was to pass into the great city ; his dear lady 
mistress was to move bedizened in saloons ; his good, 
garrulous, kind-hearted master to become a brawling 
deputy ; and both be lost for ever to Jean-Marie and 
their better selves. He knew his own defects ; he 
knew he must sink into less and less consideration 
in the turmoil of a city life, sink more and more 
from the child into the servant. And he began 
dimly to believe the Doctor's prophecies of evil. He 
could see a change in both. His generous incredulity 
failed him for this once ; a child must have per- 
ceived that the Hermitage had completed what the 

375 



THE TREASURE OF FRANCHARD 

absinthe had begun. If this were the first day, what 
would be the last ? ' If necessary, wreck the train,' 
thought he, remembering the Doctor's parable. He 
looked round on the delightful scene ; he drank deep 
of the charmed night-air, laden with the scent of 
hay. ' If necessary, wreck the train,' he repeated. 
And he rose and returned to the house. 



CHAPTER VI 
A CRIMINAL INVESTIGATION, IN TWO PARTS 

The next morning there was a most unusual outcrv 
in the Doctor's house. The last thing before going 
to bed, the Doctor had locked up some valuables in 
the dining-room cupboard ; and behold, when he rose 
again, as he did about four o'clock, the cupboard 
had been broken open, and the valuables in question 
had disappeared. Madame and Jean-Marie were 
summoned from their rooms, and appeared in hasty 
toilets ; they found the Doctor raving, calling the 
heavens to witness and avenge his injury, pacing the 
room barefooted, with the tails of his night-shirt 
flirting as he turned. 

' Gone ! ' he said ; ' the things are gone, the for- 
tune gone ! We are paupers once more. — Boy ! 
what do you know of this? Speak up, sir, speak 
up. Do you know of it ? Where are they ? ' He 
had him by the arm, shaking him like a bag, and 
the boy's words, if he had any, were jolted forth in 
376 



A CRIMINAL INVESTIGATION 

inarticulate murmurs. The Doctor, with a revulsion 
from his own violence, set him down again. He 
observed Anastasie in tears. ' Anastasie,' he said, 
in quite an altered voice, ' compose yourself, com- 
mand your feelings. I would not have you give 
way to passion like the vulgar. This — this trifling 
accident must be lived down. — Jean-Marie, bring me 
my smaller medicine- chest. A gentle laxative is 
indicated.' 

And he dosed the family all round, leading the 
way himself with a double quantity. The wretched 
Anastasie, who had never been ill in the whole 
course of her existence, and whose soul recoiled from 
remedies, wept floods of tears as she sipped, and 
shuddered, and protested, and then was bullied and 
shouted at until she sipped again. As for Jean- 
Marie, he took his portion down with stoicism. 

' I have given him a less amount,' observed the 
Doctor, ' his youth protecting him against emotion. 
And now that we have thus parried any morbid 
consequences, let us reason.' 

' I am so cold,' wailed Anastasie. 

' Cold ! ' cried the Doctor. ' I give thanks to God 
that I am made of fierier material. Why, madam, a 
blow like this would set a frog into a transpiration. 
If you are cold, you can retire ; and, by the way, you 
might throw me down my trousers. It is chilly for 
the legs.' 

' Oh no ! ' protested Anastasie ; ' I will stay with 
you.' 

* Nay, madam, you shall not suffer for your devo- 

377 



THE TREASURE OF FRANCHARD 

tion,' said the Doctor. ' I will myself fetch you a 
shawl.' And he went upstairs and returned more 
fully clad and with an armful of wraps for the 
shivering Anastasie. And now,' he resumed, 'to 
investigate this crime. Let us proceed by induc- 
tion. Anastasie, do you know anything that can 
help us ? ' Anastasie knew nothing. ' Or you, Jean- 
Marie ? ' 

* Not I,' replied the boy steadily. 

' Good,' returned the Doctor. ' We shall now 
turn our attention to the material evidences. (I was 
born to be a detective ; I have the eye and the 
systematic spirit.) First, violence has been em- 
ployed. The door was broken open ; and it may be 
observed, in passing, that the lock was dear indeed 
at what I paid for it : a crow to pluck with Master 
Goguelat. Second, here is the instrument employed, 
one of our own table-knives, one of our best, my 
dear ; which seems to indicate no preparation on the 
part of the gang — if gang it was. Thirdly, I observe 
that nothing has been removed except the Franchard 
dishes and the casket ; our own silver has been 
minutely respected. This is wily ; it shows intelli- 
gence, a knowledge of the code, a desire to avoid 
legal consequences. I argue from this fact that the 
gang numbers persons of respectability — outward, of 
course, and merely outward, as the robbery proves. 
But I argue, second, that we must have been ob- 
served at Franchard itself by some occult observer, 
and dogged throughout the day with a skill and 
patience that I venture to qualify as consummate. No 

37* 



A CRIMINAL INVESTIGATION 

ordinary man, no occasional criminal, would have 
shown himself capable of this combination. We have 
in our neighbourhood, it is far from improbable, a 
retired bandit of the highest order of intelligence.' 

' Good heaven ! ' cried the horrified Anastasie. 
' Henri, how can you ? ' 

k My cherished one, this is a process of induction/ 
said the Doctor. ' If any of my steps are unsound, 
correct me. You are silent? Then do not, I beseech 
you, be so vulgarly illogical as to revolt from my 
conclusion. We have now arrived,' he resumed, 'at 
some idea of the composition of the gang — for I 
incline to the hypothesis of more than one — and we 
now leave this room, which can disclose no more, 
and turn our attention to the court and garden. 
(Jean-Marie, I trust you are observantly following 
my various steps ; this is an excellent piece of educa- 
tion for you.) Come with me to the door. No 
steps on the court ; it is unfortunate our court 
should be paved. On what small matters hang the 
destiny of these delicate investigations ! Hey ! 
What have we here ? I have led you to the very 
spot,' he said, standing grandly backward and in- 
dicating the green gate. 'An escalade, as you can 
now see for yourselves, has taken place.' 

Sure enough, the green paint was in several places 
scratched and broken ; and one of the panels pre- 
served the print of a nailed shoe. The foot had 
slipped, however, and it was difficult to estimate the 
size of the shoe, and impossible to distinguish the 
pattern of the nails. 

379 



THE TREASURE OF FRANCHARD 

' The whole robbery,' concluded the Doctor, ' step 
by step, has been reconstituted. Inductive science 
can no further go.' 

' It is wonderful,' said his wife. ' You should 
indeed have been a detective, Henri. I had no idea 
of your talents.' 

' My dear,' replied Desprez condescendingly, ' a 
man of scientific imagination combines the lesser 
faculties ; he is a detective just as he is a publicist 
or a general ; these are but local applications of his 
special talent. But now,' he continued, ' would you 
have me go further ? Would you have me lay my 
finger on the culprits — or rather, for I cannot pro- 
mise quite so much, point out to you the very house 
where they consort ? It may be a satisfaction, at 
least it is all we are likely to get, since we are denied 
the remedy of law. I reach the further stage in this 
way. In order to fill my outline of the robbery, I 
require a man likely to be in the forest idling, I 
require a man of education, I require a man superior 
to considerations of morality. The three requisites 
all centre in Tentaillon's boarders. They are 
painters, therefore they are continually lounging in 
the forest. They are painters, therefore they are 
not unlikely to have some smattering of education. 
Lastly, because they are painters, they are probably 
immoral. And this I prove in two ways. First, 
painting is an art which merely addresses the eye ; 
it does not in any particular exercise the moral sense. 
And second, painting, in common with all the other 
arts, implies the dangerous quality of imagination. 
380 



A CRIMINAL INVESTIGATION 

A man of imagination is never moral ; he ontsoars 
literal demarcations and reviews life under too many 
shifting; lights to rest content with the invidious 
distinctions of the law ! ' 

' But you always say — at least so I understood 
you ' — said madame, ' that these lads display no 
imagination whatever. 1 

'My dear, they displayed imagination, and of a 
very fantastic order too,' returned the Doctor, ' when 
they embraced their beggarly profession. Besides — 
and this is an argument exactly suited to your in- 
tellectual level — many of them are English and 
American. Where else should we expect to find a 
thief? — And now you had better get your coffee. 
Because we have lost a treasure, there is no reason 
for starving. For my part, I shall break my fast 
with white wine. I feel unaccountably heated and 
thirsty to-day. I can only attribute it to the shock 
of the discovery. And yet, you will bear me out, I 
supported the emotion nobly.' 

The Doctor had now talked himself back into 
an admirable humour ; and as he sat in the arbour 
and slowly imbibed a large allowance of white wine 
and picked a little bread and cheese with no very 
impetuous appetite, if a third of his meditations ran 
upon the missing treasure, the other two-thirds were 
more pleasingly busied in the retrospect of his de- 
tective skill. 

About eleven Casimir arrived ; he had caught an 
early train to Fontainebleau, and driven over, to save 
time ; and now his cab was stabled at Tentaillon's, 

38i 



THE TREASURE OF FRANCHARD 

and lie remarked, studying his watch, that he could 
spare an hour and a half. He was much the man of 
business, decisively spoken, given to frowning in an 
intellectual manner. Anastasie's born brother, he 
did not waste much sentiment on the lady, gave her 
an English family kiss, and demanded a meal with- 
out delay. 

'You can tell me your story while we eat,' he 
observed. ' Anything good to-day, Stasie ? ' 

He was promised something good. The trio sat 
down to table in the arbour, Jean-Marie waiting as 
well as eating, and the Doctor recounted what had 
happened in his richest narrative manner. Casimir 
heard it with explosions of laughter. 

' What a streak of luck for you, my good brother,' 
he observed, when the tale was over. ' If you had 
gone to Paris, you would have played dick-duck- 
drake with the whole consignment in three months. 
Your own would have followed ; and you would 
have come to me in a procession like the last time. 
But I give you warning — Stasie may weep and 
Henri ratiocinate — it will not serve you twice. 
Your next collapse will be fatal. I thought I had 
told you so, Stasie ? Hey ? No sense ? ' 

The Doctor winced and looked furtively at Jean- 
Marie ; but the boy seemed apathetic. 

' And then again,' broke out Casimir, ' what chil- 
dren you are — vicious children, my faith ! How 
could you tell the value of this trash ? It might 
have been worth nothing, or next door.' 

' Pardon me,' said the Doctor. ' You have your 
382 



A CRIMINAL INVESTIGATION 

usual flow of spirits, I perceive, but even less than 
your usual deliberation. I am not entirely ignorant 
of these matters.' 

' Not entirely ignorant of anything ever I heard 
of,' interrupted Casimir, bowing, and raising his glass 
with a sort of pert politeness. 

' At least,' resumed the Doctor, * I gave my mind 
to the subject — that you may be willing to believe — 
and I estimated that our capital would be doubled.' 
And he described the nature of the find. 

' My word of honour ! ' said Casimir, * I half be- 
lieve you ! But much would depend on the quality 
of the gold.' 

' The quality, my dear Casimir, was ' And the 

Doctor, in default of language, kissed his finger- 
tips. 

' I would not take your word for it, my good 
friend,' retorted the man of business. 'You are a 
man of very rosy views. But this robbery,' he con- 
tinued — ' this robbery is an odd thing. Of course I 
pass over your nonsense about gangs and landscape- 
painters. For me, that is a dream. Who was in 
the house last night ? ' 

' None but ourselves,' replied the Doctor. 

' And this young gentleman ? ' asked Casimir, jerk- 
ing a nod in the direction of Jean-Marie. 

' He too ' — the Doctor bowed. 

' Well ; and, if it is a fair question, who is he ? ' 
pursued the brother-in-law. 

' Jean- Marie,' answered the Doctor, ' combines the 
functions of a son and stable-boy. He began as the 

383 



THE TREASURE OF FRANCHARD 

latter, but he rose rapidly to the more honourable 
rank in our affections. He is, I may say, the great- 
est comfort in our lives.' 

' Ha ! ' said Casimir. ' And previous to becoming 
one of you ? ' 

'Jean-Marie has lived a remarkable existence, 
his experience has been eminently formative,' replied 
Desprez. ' If I had had to choose an education for 
my son, I should have chosen such another. Be- 
ginning life with mountebanks and thieves, passing 
onward to the society and friendship of philosophers, 
he may be said to have skimmed the volume of 
human life.' 

' Thieves ? ' repeated the brother-in-law, with a 
meditative air. 

The Doctor could have bitten his tongue out He 
foresaw what was coming, and prepared his mind for 
a vigorous defence. 

'Did you ever steal yourself?' asked Casimir. 
turning suddenly on Jean-Marie, and for the first 
time employing a single eyeglass which hung round 
his neck. 

' Yes, sir,' replied the boy, with a deep blush. 

Casimir turned to the others with pursed lips, 
and nodded to them meaningly. ' Hey ? ' said he ; 
' how is that ? ' 

' Jean-Marie is a teller of the truth,' returned the 
Doctor, throwing out his bust. 

' He has never told a lie,' added madame. ' He is 
the best of boys.' 

' Never told a lie, has he not ? ' reflected Casimir. 

384 



A CRIMINAL INVESTIGATION 

' Strange, very strange. Give me your attention, my 
young friend,' he continued. ■ You knew about this 
treasure ? ' 

1 He helped to bring it home,' interposed the 
Doctor. 

* Desprez, I ask you nothing but to hold your 
tongue,' returned Casimir. ' I mean to question this 
stable-boy of yours ; and if you are so certain of his 
innocence, you can afford to let him answer for him- 
self. — Now, sir,' he resumed, pointing his eyeglass 
straight at Jean-Marie. ' You knew it could be 
stolen with impunity ? You knew you could not 
be prosecuted ? Come ! Did you, or did you 
not?' 

' I did,' answered Jean-Marie, in a miserable 
whisper. He sat there changing colour like a re- 
volving pharos, twisting his lingers hysterically, 
swallowing air, the picture of guilt. 

' You knew where it was put ? ' resumed the in- 
quisitor. 

' Yes,' from Jean-Marie. 

* You say you have been a thief before,' continued 
Casimir. ' Now, how am I to know that you are 
not one still ? I suppose you could climb the green 
gate ? ' 

1 Yes,' still lower, from the culprit. 

'Well, then, it was you who stole these things. 
You know it, and you dare not deny it. Look me 
in the face ! Raise your sneak's eyes, and answer ! ' 

But in place of anything of that sort Jean-Marie 
broke into a dismal howl and fled from the arbour. 

8-2 B 385 



THE TREASURE OF FRANCHARD 

Anastasie, as she pursued to capture and reassure the 
victim, found time to send one Parthian arrow — 
• Casimir, you are a brute ! ' 

' My brother,' said Desprez, with the greatest dig- 
nity, ' you take upon yourself a licence ' 

' Desprez,' interrupted Casimir, ' for Heaven's sake 
be a man of the world. You telegraph me to leave 
my business and come down here on yours. I come, 
I ask the business, you say "Find me this thief!" 
Well, I find him ; I say " There he is ! " You need 
not like it, but you have no manner of right to take 
offence.' 

' Well,' returned the Doctor, ' I grant that ; I will 
even thank you for your mistaken zeal. But your 
hypothesis was so extravagantly monstrous ' 

' Look here,' interrupted Casimir ; ' was it you or 
Stasie ? ' 

' Certainly not,' answered the Doctor. 

' Very well ; then it was the boy. Say no more 
about it,' said the brother-in-law, and he produced 
his cigar-case. 

' I will say this much more,' returned Desprez : 
1 if that boy came and told me so himself, I should 
not believe him ; and if I did believe him, so implicit 
is my trust, I should conclude that he had acted for 
the best.' 

* Well, well,' said Casimir indulgently. ' Have 
you a light ? I must be going. And by the way, 
I wish you would let me sell your Turks for you. I 
always told you, it meant smash. I tell you so 
again. Indeed, it was partly that which brought me 
386 



A CRIMINAL INVESTIGATION 

down. You never acknowledge my letters — a most 
unpardonable habit.' 

'My good brother,' replied the Doctor blandly, 
' I have never denied your ability in business ; but I 
can perceive your limitations.' 

1 Egad, my friend, I can return the compliment,' 
observed the man of business. ' Your limitation is 
to be downright irrational.' 

■ Observe the relative position,' returned the Doc- 
tor, with a smile. ' It is your attitude to believe 
through thick and thin in one man's judgment — 
your own. I follow the same opinion, but critically 
and with open eyes. Which is the more irrational ? 
I leave it to yourself.' 

' Oh, my dear fellow ! ' cried Casimir, ' stick to 
your Turks, stick to your stable-boy, go to the devil 
in general in your own way and be done with it. 
But don't ratiocinate with me — I cannot bear it. 
And so, ta-ta. I might as well have stayed away 
for any good I 've done. Say good-bye from me to 
Stasie, and to the sullen hang-dog of a stable-boy, if 
you insist on it ; I 'm off.' 

And Casimir departed. The Doctor, that night, 
dissected his character before Anastasie. 'One thing, 
my beautiful,' he said, ' he has learned one thing 
from his lifelong acquaintance with your husband : 
the word ratiocinate. It shines in his vocabulary 
like a jewel in a muck-heap. And, even so, he con- 
tinually misapplies it. For you must have observed 
he uses it as a sort of taunt, in the sense of to 
ergotise, implying, as it were — the poor, dear fellow ! 

387 



THE TREASURE OF FRANCHARD 

— a vein of sophistry. As for his cruelty to Jean- 
Marie, it must be forgiven him — it is not his nature, 
it is the nature of his life. A man who deals with 
money, my dear, is a man lost.' 

With Jean-Marie the process of reconciliation had 
been somewhat slow. At first he was inconsolable, 
insisted on leaving the family, went from paroxysm to 
paroxysm of tears ; and it was only after Anastasie 
had been closeted for an hour with him, alone, that 
she came forth, sought out the Doctor, and, with 
tears in her eyes, acquainted that gentleman with 
what had passed. 

' At first, my husband, he would hear of nothing,' 
she said. ' Imagine ! if he had left us ! what would 
the treasure be to that? Horrible treasure, it has 
brought all this about ! At last, after he has sobbed 
his very heart out, he agrees to stay on a condition — 
we are not to mention this matter, this infamous 
suspicion, not even to mention the robbery. On 
that agreement only, the poor, cruel boy will con- 
sent to remain among his friends.' 

'But this inhibition,' said the Doctor, 'this em- 
bargo — it cannot possibly apply to me ? ' 

' To all of us,' Anastasie assured him. 

' My cherished one,' Desprez protested, ' you must 
have misunderstood. It cannot apply to me. He 
would naturally come to me.' 

' Henri,' she said, ' it does ; I swear to you it 
does.' 

'This is a painful, a very painful circumstance,' 
the Doctor said, looking a little black. ' I cannot 
388 



A CRIMINAL INVESTIGATION 

affect, Anastasie, to be anything but justly wounded. 
I feel this — I feel it, my wife, acutely.' 

' I knew you would,' she said. ' But if you had 
seen his distress ! We must make allowances, we 
must sacrifice our feelings.' 

' I trust, my dear, you have never found me 
averse to sacrifices,' returned the Doctor very stiffly. 

' And you will let me go and tell him that you 
have agreed ? It will be like your noble nature,' she 
cried. 

So it would, he perceived — it would be like his 
noble nature ! Up jumped his spirits, triumphant 
at the thought. 'Go, darling,' he said nobly, 're- 
assure him. The subject is buried ; more — I make 
an effort, I have accustomed my will to these exer- 
tions — and it is forgotten.' 

A little after, but still with swollen eyes and look- 
ing mortally sheepish, Jean-Marie reappeared and 
went ostentatiously about his business. He was 
the only unhappy member of the party that sat 
down that night to supper. As for the Doctor, 
he was radiant He thus sang the requiem of the 
treasure : — 

'This has been, on the whole, a most amusing 
episode,' he said. ' We are not a penny the worse — 
nay, we are immensely gainers. Our philosophy has 
been exercised ; some of the turtle is still left — the 
most wholesome of delicacies ; I have my staff, 
Anastasie has her new dress, Jean-Marie is the 
proud possessor of a fashionable kepi. Besides, we 
had a glass of Hermitage last night ; the glow still 

389 



THE TREASURE OF FRANCHARD 

suffuses my memory. I was growing positively 
niggardly with that Hermitage, positively niggardly. 
Let me take the hint : we had one bottle to cele- 
brate the appearance of our visionary fortune ; let 
us have a second to console us for its occultation. 
The third I hereby dedicate to Jean-Marie's wedding 
breakfast.' 



CHAPTER VII 
THE FALL OF THE HOUSE OF DESPREZ 

The Doctor's house has not yet received the com- 
pliment of a description, and it is now high time that 
the omission were supplied, for the house is itself an 
actor in the story, and one whose part is nearly at 
an end. Two stories in height, walls of a warm 
yellow, tiles of an ancient ruddy brown diversified 
with moss and lichen, it stood with one wall to the 
street in the angle of the Doctor's property. It 
was roomy, draughty, and inconvenient. The large 
rafters were here and there engraven with rude 
marks and patterns ; the hand-rail of the stair was 
carved in countrified arabesque ; a stout timber 
pillar, which did duty to support the dining-room 
roof, bore mysterious characters on its darker side, 
runes, according to the Doctor ; nor did he fail, when 
he ran over the legendary history of the house and 
its possessors, to dwell upon the Scandinavian scholar 
who had left them. Floors, doors, and rafters made 
a great variety of angles ; every room had a par- 
390 



THE FALL OF THE HOUSE 

ticular inclination ; the gable had tilted towards the 
garden, after the manner of a leaning tower, and one 
of the former proprietors had buttressed the building 
from that side with a great strut of wood, like the 
derrick of a crane. Altogether, it had many marks 
of ruin ; it was a house for the rats to desert ; and 
nothing but its excellent brightness — the window- 
glass polished and shining, the paint well scoured, 
the brasses radiant, the very prop all wreathed about 
with climbing flowers — nothing but its air of a well- 
tended, smiling veteran, sitting, crutch and all, in 
the sunny corner of a garden, marked it as a house 
for comfortable people to inhabit. In poor or idle 
management it would soon have hurried into the 
blackguard stages of decay. As it was, the whole 
family loved it, and the Doctor was never better 
inspired than when he narrated its imaginary story 
and drew the character of its successive masters, 
from the Hebrew merchant who had re-edified its 
walls after the sack of the town, and past the mys- 
terious engraver of the runes, down to the long- 
headed, dirty-handed boor from whom he had him- 
self acquired it at a ruinous expense. As for any 
alarm about its security, the idea had never pre- 
sented itself. What had stood four centuries might 
well endure a little longer. 

Indeed, in this particular winter, after the finding 
and losing of the treasure, the Desprez had an 
anxiety of a very different order, and one which lay 
nearer their hearts. Jean -Marie was plainly not 
himself. He had fits of hectic activity, when he 

39i 



THE TREASURE OF FRANCHARD 

made unusual exertions to please, spoke more and 
faster, and redoubled in attention to his lessons. 
But these were interrupted by spells of melancholia 
and brooding silence, when the boy was little better 
than unbearable. 

' Silence,' the Doctor moralised — ' you see, Ana- 
stasie, what comes of silence. Had the boy properly 
unbosomed himself, the little disappointment about 
the treasure, the little annoyance about Casimir's 
incivility would long ago have been forgotten. As 
it is, they prey upon him like a disease. He loses 
flesh, his appetite is variable and, on the whole, 
impaired. I keep him on the strictest regimen, I 
exhibit the most powerful tonics ; both in vain.' 

' Don't you think you drug him too much ? ' asked 
madame, with an irrepressible shudder. 

' Drug ? ' cried the Doctor ; ' I drug ? Anastasie, 
you are mad ! ' 

Time went on, and the boy's health still slowly 
declined. The Doctor blamed the weather, which 
was cold and boisterous. He called in his confrere 
from Bourron, took a fancy for him, magnified his 
capacity, and was pretty soon under treatment him- 
self — it scarcely appeared for what complaint He 
and Jean-Marie had each medicine to take at 
different periods of the day. The Doctor used to 
lie in wait for the exact moment, watch in hand. 
' There is nothing like regularity,' he would say, fill 
out the doses, and dilate on the virtues of the 
draught ; and if the boy seemed none the better, 
the Doctor was not at all the worse. 
392 



THE FALL OF THE HOUSE 

Gunpowder Day, the boy was particularly low. 
It was scowling, squally weather. Huge broken 
companies of cloud sailed swiftly overhead ; raking 
gleams of sunlight swept the village, and were fol- 
lowed by intervals of darkness and white, flying rain. 
At times the wind lifted up its voice and bellowed. 
The trees were all scourging themselves along the 
meadows, the last leaves flying like dust. 

The Doctor, between the boy and the weather, 
was in his element ; he had a theory to prove. He 
sat with his watch out and a barometer in front of 
him, waiting for the squalls and noting their effect 
upon the human pulse. ' For the true philosopher,' 
he remarked delightedly, 'every fact in nature is 
a toy.' A letter came to him ; but, as its arrival 
coincided with the approach of another gust, he 
merely crammed it into his pocket, gave the time to 
Jean-Marie, and the next moment they were both 
counting their pulses as if for a wager. 

At nightfall the wind rose into a tempest. It 
besieged the hamlet, apparently from every side, as 
if with batteries of cannon ; the houses shook and 
groaned ; live coals were blown upon the floor. The 
uproar and terror of the night kept people long 
awake, sitting with pallid faces giving ear. 

It was twelve before the Desprez family retired. 
By half-past one, when the storm was already some- 
what past its height, the Doctor was awakened from 
a troubled slumber, and sat up. A noise still rang 
in his ears, but whether of this world or the world of 
dreams he was not certain. Another clap of wind 

393 



THE TREASURE OF FRANCHARD 

followed. It was accompanied by a sickening move- 
ment of the whole house, and in the subsequent lull 
Desprez could hear the tiles pouring like a cataract 
into the loft above his head. He plucked Anastasie 
bodily out of bed. 

' Run ! ' he cried, thrusting some wearing apparel 
into her hands ; ' the house is falling ! To the 
garden ! ' 

She did not pause to be twice bidden ; she was 
down the stair in an instant. She had never before 
suspected herself of such activity. The Doctor 
meanwhile, with the speed of a piece of pantomime 
business, and undeterred by broken shins, proceeded 
to rout out Jean-Marie, tore Aline from her virgin 
slumbers, seized her by the hand, and tumbled down- 
stairs and into the garden, with the girl tumbling 
behind him, still not half awake. 

The fugitives rendezvoused in the arbour by some 
common instinct. Then came a bull's-eye flash of 
struggling moonshine, which disclosed their four 
figures standing huddled from the wind in a raffle 
of flying drapery, and not without a considerable 
need for more. At the humiliating spectacle Ana- 
stasie clutched her night-dress desperately about her 
and burst loudly into tears. The Doctor flew to 
console her ; but she elbowed him away. She 
suspected everybody of being the general public, 
and thought the darkness was alive with eyes. 

Another gleam and another violent gust arrived 
together ; the house was seen to rock on its founda- 
tion, and, just as the light was once more eclipsed, 
394 



THE FALL OF THE HOUSE 

a crash which triumphed over the shouting of the 
wind announced its fall, and for a moment the whole 
garden was alive with skipping tiles and brickbats. 
One such missile grazed the Doctor's ear ; another 
descended on the bare foot of Aline, who instantly 
made night hideous with her shrieks. 

By this time the hamlet was alarmed, lights flashed 
from the windows, hails reached the party, and the 
Doctor answered, nobly contending against Aline 
and the tempest. But this prospect of help only 
awakened Anastasie to a more active stage of terror. 

* Henri, people will be coming,' she screamed in 
her husband's ear. 

1 1 trust so,' he replied. 

' They cannot. I would rather die,' she wailed. 

' My dear,' said the Doctor reprovingly, ' you are 
excited. I gave you some clothes. What have you 
done with them ? ' 

' Oh, I don't know — I must have thrown them 
away ! Where are they ? ' she sobbed. 

Desprez groped about in the darkness. ' Admir- 
able ! ' he remarked ; ' my grey velveteen trousers ! 
This will exactly meet your necessities.' 

' Give them to me ! ' she cried fiercely ; but as soon 
as she had them in her hands her mood appeared to 
alter — she stood silent for a moment, and then 
pressed the garment back upon the Doctor. ' Give 
it to Aline,' she said — 'poor girl' 

' Nonsense ! ' said the Doctor. ' Aline does not 
know what she is about. Aline is beside herself with 
terror ; and, at any rate, she is a peasant. Now I 

395 



THE TREASURE OF FRANCHARD 

am really concerned at this exposure for a person of 
your housekeeping habits ; my solicitude and your 
fantastic modesty both point to the same remedy — 
the pantaloons.' He held them ready. 

' It is impossible. You do not understand,' she 
said with dignity. 

By this time rescue was at hand. It had been 
found impracticable to enter by the street, for the 
gate was blocked with masonry, and the nodding 
ruin still threatened further avalanches. But be- 
tween the Doctor's garden and the one on the right 
hand there was that very picturesque contrivance — 
a common well ; the door on the Desprez side had 
chanced to be unbolted, and now, through the arched 
aperture, a man's bearded face and an arm supporting 
a lantern were introduced into the world of windy 
darkness, where Anastasie concealed her woes. The 
light struck here and there among the tossing apple 
boughs, it glinted on the grass ; but the lantern and 
the glowing face became the centre of the world. 
Anastasie crouched back from the intrusion. 

* This way! ' shouted the man. ' Are you all safe?' 
Aline, still screaming, ran to the new comer, and 

was presently hauled head-foremost through the wall. 

• Now, Anastasie, come on ; it is your turn,' said 
the husband. 

' I cannot,' she replied. 

' Are we all to die of exposure, madame ? ' 
thundered Doctor Desprez. 

4 You can go ! ' she cried. ■ Oh, go, go away ! I 
can stay here ; I am quite warm.' 
396 



THE FALL OF THE HOUSE 

The Doctor took her by the shoulders with an 
oath. 

' Stop ! ' she screamed. ' I will put them on.' 

She took the detested lendings in her hand once 
more ; but her repulsion was stronger than shame. 
' Never ! ' she cried, shuddering, and flung them far 
away into the night. 

Next moment the Doctor had whirled her to the 
well. The man was there and the lantern ; Anastasie 
closed her eyes and appeared to herself to be about 
to die. How she was transported through the arch 
she knew not ; but once on the other side she was 
received by the neighbour's wife, and enveloped in a 
friendly blanket. 

Beds were made ready for the two women, clothes 
of very various sizes for the Doctor and Jean-Marie ; 
and for the remainder of the night, while madame 
dozed in and out on the borderland of hysterics, her 
husband sat beside the fire and held forth to the 
admiring neighbours. He showed them, at length, 
the causes of the accident ; for years, he explained, 
the fall had been impending ; one sign had followed 
another : the joints had opened, the plaster had 
cracked, the old walls bowed inward ; last, not three 
weeks ago, the cellar-door had begun to work with 
difficulty in its grooves. ' The cellar ! ' he said, 
gravely shaking his head over a glass of mulled 
wine. ' That reminds me of my poor vintages. By 
a manifest providence the Hermitage was nearly at 
an end. One bottle — I lose but one bottle of that 
incomparable wine. It had been set apart against 

397 



THE TREASURE OF FRANCHARD 

Jean-Marie's wedding. Well, I must lay down some 
more ; it will be an interest in life. I am, however, 
a man somewhat advanced in years. My great work 
is now buried in the fall of my humble roof; it will 
never be completed — my name will have been writ 
in water. And yet you find me calm — I would say 
cheerful. Can your priest do more ? ' 

By the first glimpse of day the party sallied forth 
from the fireside into the street. The wind had 
fallen, but still charioted a world of troubled clouds ; 
the air bit like frost ; and the party, as they stood 
about the ruins in the rainy twilight of the morning, 
beat upon their breasts and blew into their hands 
for warmth. The house had entirely fallen, the 
walls outward, the roof in ; it was a mere heap of 
rubbish, with here and there a forlorn spear of broken 
rafter. A sentinel was placed over the ruins to 
protect the property, and the party adjourned to 
Tentaillon's to break their fast at the Doctor's ex- 
pense. The bottle circulated somewhat freely ; and 
before they left the table it had begun to snow. 

For three days the snow continued to fall, and the 
ruins, covered with tarpaulin and watched by sen- 
tries, were left undisturbed. The Desprez mean- 
while had taken up their abode at Tentaillon's. 
Madame spent her time in the kitchen, concocting 
little delicacies, with the admiring aid of Madame 
Tentaillon, or sitting by the fire in thoughtful abs- 
traction. The fall of the house affected her wonder- 
fully little ; that blow had been parried by another ; 
and in her mind she was continually fighting over 
398 



THE FALL OF THE HOUSE 

again the battle of the trousers. Had she done 
right ? Had she done wrong ? And now she would 
applaud her determination ; and anon, with a horrid 
flush of unavailing penitence, she would regret the 
trousers. No juncture in her life had so much exer- 
cised her judgment. In the meantime the Doctor 
had become vastly pleased with his situation. Two 
of the summer boarders still lingered behind the rest, 
prisoners for lack of a remittance ; they were both 
English, but one of them spoke French pretty 
fluently, and was, besides, a humorous, agile-minded 
fellow, with whom the Doctor could reason by the 
hour, secure of comprehension. Many were the 
glasses they emptied, many the topics they dis- 
cussed. 

' Anastasie,' the Doctor said on the third morning, 
' take an example from your husband, from Jean- 
Marie ! The excitement has done more for the boy 
than all my tonics, he takes his turn as sentry with 
positive gusto. As for me, you behold me. I have 
made friends with the Egyptians ; and my Pharaoh 
is, I swear it, a most agreeable companion. You 
alone are hipped. About a house — a few dresses ? 
What are they in comparison to the Pharmacopoeia 
— the labour of years lying buried below stones and 
sticks in this depressing hamlet ? The snow falls ; I 
shake it from my cloak ! Imitate me. Our income 
will be impaired, I grant it, since we must rebuild ; 
but moderation, patience, and philosophy will gather 
about the hearth. In the meanwhile, the Tentaillons 
are obliging ; the table, with your additions, will 

399 



THE TREASURE OF FRANCHARD 

pass ; only the wine is execrable — well, I shall send 
for some to-day. My Pharaoh will be gratified to 
drink a decent glass ; aha ! and I shall see if he pos- 
sesses that acme of organisation — a palate. If he 
has a palate, he is perfect.' 

'Henri,' she said, shaking her head, 'you are a 
man ; you cannot understand my feelings ; no 
woman could shake off the memory of so public a 
humiliation.' 

The Doctor could not restrain a titter. ' Pardon 
me, darling,' he said ; ' but really, to the philoso- 
phical intelligence, the incident appears so small a 
trifle. You looked extremely well ' 

' Henri ! ' she cried. 

'Well, well, I will say no more,' he replied. 
' Though, to be sure, if you had consented to indue 
-A propose he broke off, ' and my trousers ! 



They are lying in the snow — my favourite trousers !' 
And he dashed in quest of Jean-Marie. 

Two hours afterwards the boy returned to the inn 
with a spade under one arm and a curious sop of 
clothing under the other. 

The Doctor ruefully took it in his hands. ' They 
have been ! ' he said. ' Their tense is past. Excel- 
lent pantaloons, you are no more ! Stay, something 
in the pocket,' and he produced a piece of paper. 
' A letter ! ay, now I mind me ; it was received on 
the morning of the gale, when I was absorbed in 
delicate investigations. It is still legible. From 
poor dear Casimir ! It is as well,' he chuckled, 
'that I have educated him to patience. Poor 
400 



THE FALL OF THE HOUSE 

Casimir and his correspondence — his infinitesimal, 
timorous, idiotic correspondence ! ' 

He had by this time cautiously unfolded the wet 
letter ; but, as he bent himself to decipher the 
writing", a cloud descended on his brow. 

' Bigre ! ' he cried, with a galvanic start. 

And then the letter was whipped into the fire, 
and the Doctors cap was on his head in the turn 
of a hand. 

' Ten minutes ! I can catch it, if I run,' he cried. 
' It is always late. I go to Paris. I shall tele- 
graph.' 

' Henri ! what is wrong ? ' cried his wife. 

' Ottoman Bonds ! ' came from the disappearing 
Doctor ; and Anastasie and Jean-Marie were left 
face to face with the wet trousers. Desprez had 
gone to Paris, for the second time in seven years ; 
he had gone to Paris with a pair of wooden shoes, a 
knitted spencer, a black blouse, a country nightcap, 
and twenty francs in his pocket. The fall of the 
house was but a secondary marvel ; the whole world 
might have fallen and scarce left his family more 
petrified. 

CHAPTER VIII 

THE WAGES OF PHILOSOPHY 

On the morning of the next day, the Doctor, a mere 
spectre of himself, was brought back in the custody 
of Casimir. They found Anastasie and the boy 
8 — 2 c 401 



THE TREASURE OF FRANCHARD 

sitting together by the tire ; and Desprez, who had 
exchanged his toilette for a ready-made rig-out of 
poor materials, waved his hand as he entered, and 
sank speechless on the nearest chair. Madame 
turned direct to Casimir. 

' What is wrong ? ' she cried. 

' Well,' replied Casimir, ' what have I told you all 
along. It has come. It is a clean shave this time ; 
so you may as well bear up and make the best of it. 
House down, too, eh ? Bad luck, upon my soul ! ' 

' Are we — are we — ruined ? ' she gasped. 

The Doctor stretched out his arms to her. 
' Ruined,' he replied, ' you are ruined by your sinister 
husband.' 

Casimir observed the consequent embrace through 
his eyeglass ; then he turned to Jean-Marie. ' You 
hear ? ' he said. ' They are ruined ; no more pick- 
ings, no more house, no more fat cutlets. It strikes 
me, my friend, that you had best be packing ; the 
present speculation is about worked out.' And he 
nodded to him meaningly. 

'Never!' cried Desprez, springing up. 'Jean- 
Marie, if you prefer to leave me, now that I am 
poor, you can go ; you shall receive your hundred 
francs, if so much remains to me. But if you will 
consent to stay ' — the Doctor wept a little — ' Casimir 
offers me a place — as clerk,' he resumed. ' The 
emoluments are slender, but they will be enough 
for three. It is too much already to have lost my 
fortune ; must I lose my son ? ' 

Jean-Marie sobbed bitterly, but without a word. 
402 



THE WAGES OF PHILOSOPHY 

'I don't like boys who cry,' observed Casimir. 
' This one is always crying. — Here ! you clear out of 
this for a little ; I have business with your master 
and mistress, and these domestic feelings may be 
settled after I am gone. March ! ' and he held the 
door open. 

Jean-Marie slunk out, like a detected thief. 

By twelve they were all at table but Jean-Marie. 

' Hey ? ' said Casimir. ' Gone, you see. Took 
the hint at once.' 

'I do not, I confess,' said Desprez, * I do not seek 
to excuse his absence. It speaks a want of heart 
that disappoints me sorely.' 

. 'AYant of manners,' corrected Casimir. 'Heart 
he never had. Why, Desprez, for a clever fellow, 
you are the most gullible mortal in creation. Your 
ignorance of human nature and human business is 
beyond belief. You are swindled by heathen Turks, 
swindled by vagabond children, swindled right and 
left, upstairs and downstairs. I think it must be 
your imagination. I thank my stars I have 
none.' 

'Pardon me,' replied Desprez, still humbly, but 
with a return of spirit at sight of a distinction to be 
drawn ; ' pardon me, Casimir. You possess, even to 
an eminent degree, the commercial imagination. It 
was the lack of that in me — it appears it is my weak 
point — that has led to these repeated shocks. By 
the commercial imagination the financier forecasts 
the destiny of his investments, marks the falling 

house ' 

403 



THE TREASURE OF FRANCHARD 

' Egad,' interrupted Casimir : ' our friend the 
stable-boy appears to have his share of it.' 

The Doctor was silenced ; and the meal was con- 
tinued and finished principally to the tune of the 
brother-in-law's not very consolatory conversation. 
He entirely ignored the two young English painters, 
turning a blind eyeglass to their salutations, and con- 
tinuing his remarks as if he were alone in the bosom 
of his family ; and with every second word he ripped 
another stitch out of the air-balloon of Desprez' 
vanity. By the time coffee was over the poor 
Doctor was as limp as a napkin. 

' Let us go and see the ruins,' said Casimir. 

They strolled forth into the street. The fall of 
the house, like the loss of a front tooth, had quite 
transformed the village. Through the gap the eye 
commanded a great stretch of open snowy country, 
and the place shrank in comparison. It was like a 
room with an open door. The sentinel stood by the 
green gate, looking very red and cold, but he had a 
pleasant word for the Doctor and his wealthy kins- 
man. 

Casimir looked at the mound of ruins, he tried the 
quality of the tarpaulin. ' H'm,' he said, ' I hope 
the cellar arch has stood. If it has, my good brother, 
I will give you a good price for the wines.' 

' We shall start digging to-morrow,' said the sentry. 
' There is no more fear of snow.' 

' My friend,' returned Casimir sententiously, ' you 
had better wait till you get paid.' 

The Doctor winced, and began dragging his in- 
404 



THE WAGES OF PHILOSOPHY 

offensive brother-in-law towards Tentaillon's. In 
the house there would be fewer auditors, and these 
already in the secret of his fall. 

' Hullo ! ' cried Casimir, ' there goes the stable- 
boy with his luggage ; no, egad, he is taking it into 
the inn.' 

And sure enough, Jean-Marie was seen to cross 
the snowy street and enter Tentaillon's, staggering 
under a large hamper. 

The Doctor stopped with a sudden, wild hope. 

' What can he have ? ' he said. ' Let us go and 
see.' And he hurried on. 

' His luggage, to be sure,' answered Casimir. ' He 
is on the move — thanks to the commercial imagina- 
tion. ' 

' I have not seen that hamper for — for ever so 
long,' remarked the Doctor. 

1 Nor will you see it much longer,' chuckled 
Casimir ; ' unless, indeed, we interfere. And by the 
way, I insist on an examination.' 

' You will not require,' said Desprez, positively 
with a sob ; and, casting a moist, triumphant glance 
at Casimir, he began to run. 

' What the devil is up with him, I wonder ? ' 
Casimir reflected ; and then, curiosity taking the 
upper hand, he followed the Doctor's example and 
took to his heels. 

The hamper was so heavy and large, and Jean- 
Marie himself so little and so weary, that it had 
taken him a great while to bundle it upstairs to the 
Desprez private room ; and he had just set it down 

405 



THE TREASURE OF FRANCHARD 

on the floor in front of Anastasie, when the Doctor 
arrived, and was closely followed by the man of 
business. Boy and hamper were both in a most 
sorry plight; for the one had passed four months 
underground in a certain cave on the way to Acheres, 
and the other had run about five miles as hard as his 
legs would carry him, half that distance under a 
staggering weight. 

'Jean-Marie,' cried the Doctor, in a voice that 
was only too seraphic to be called hysterical, ' is 

it ? It is !' he cried. ' Oh, my son, my son ! ' 

And he sat down upon the hamper and sobbed like 
a little child. 

' You will not go to Paris now,' said Jean-Marie 
sheepishly. 

' Casimir,' said Desprez, raising his wet face, ' do 
you see that boy, that angel-boy ? He is the thief ; 
he took the treasure from a man unfit to be intrusted 
with its use ; he brings it back to me when I am 
sobered and humbled. These, Casimir, are the 
Fruits of my Teaching, and this moment is the 
Reward of my Life.' 

' Tiens,' said Casimir. 



406 
















x'W-M